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THE 



OLD ROMAN WORLD 



THE 



GRANDEUR AND FAILURE OF ITS CIVILIZATION 



BY 



JOHN LORD, LL.D. 



SECOND EDITION. 




^ /^ NEW YORK 

CHARLEvS SCRIBNER AND COMPANY 

1868 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by 

John Lord, 

to the Clerk's Ofiftce of the District Court for the District of Connecticat 



y 






V- 



RIVERSIDE, OAMBRIDaB: 

STEREOTYPED AND PRINTED BV 

H. 0. nOUGUTON AND COMPANT 



2 / ^ 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE CONQUESTS OF THE ROMANS. 

PAQB 

Early History of Rome — Wars under the Kings — Their Results 

— Gradual Subjection of Italy — Great Heroes of the Repub- 
_ Kc — Their Virtues and Victories — Military Aggrandizement 

— The Carthaginian, Macedonian, and Asiatic Wars — Their 
Consequences — Civil Wars of Marius and Sulla, of Pompey 
and Caesar — The Conquests of the Barbarians — Extension of 
Roman Dominion in the East — Conquests of the Emperors — 
The Military Forces of the Empire — Military Science — The 
Roman Legion — T' .e Military Genius of the Romans, 19 

CHAPTER n. 

THE MATERIAL GRANDEUR AND GLORY OF THE ROMAN 

EMPIRE. 

The vast Extent of the Empire — Boundaries — Rivers and 
Mountains — The Mediterranean and its Islands — The Prov- 
inces — Principal Cities — Great Architectural Monuments — 
Roads — Commerce — Agriculture — Manufactures — Wealth 

— Population — Unity of the Empire, 71 

CHAPTER III. 

THE WONDERS OF ANCIENT ROME. 

Original Settlement — The Seven Hills — Progress of the City 

— Principal Architectural Monuments — A Description of the 
Temples, Bridges, Aqueducts, Forums, Basilicas, Palaces, Am- 
phitheatres, Theatres, Circuses, Columns, Arches, Baths, Obe- 



iv Contents, 

PAOE 

lisks, Tombs — Miscellaneous Antiquities — Streets — Gardens 

— Private Houses — Populous Quarters — Famous Statues and 
Pictures — General Magnificence — Population, 100 

CHAPTER IV. 

ART IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 

The great Wonders of Ancient Architecture, Sculpture, and 
Painting — Famous Artists of Antiquity — How far the Ro- 
mans copied the Greeks — How far they extended Art — Its 
Principles — Its Perfection — Causes of its DecUne — Perma- 
nence of its grand Creations, 139 

CHAPTER V. 

THE ROMAN CONSTITUTION. 

The Original Citizens — Comitia Calata — Comitia Curiata — 
Comitia Centuriata — Comitia Tributa — The Plebs — Great 
Patrician Families — The Aristocratic Structure of ancient Ro- 
man Society — The Dignity and Power of the Senate — The 
Knights — The Growth of the Democracy — Contests between 
Patricians and Plebeians — Rise of Tribunes — Popular Lead- 
ers — Their Laws — The Great Officers of State — Provincial 
Governors — Usurpations of fortunate Generals — The Revo- 
lution under Julius Caesar and Augustus — Imperial Despotism 

— Preservation of the Forms of the Republic, and utter Pros* 
tration of its Spirit, 189 

CHAPTER VI. 

ROMAN JURISPRUDENCE. 

Genius of the Romans for Government and Laws — Develop- 
ment of Jurisprudence — Legislative Sources — Judicial Power 

— Courts of Law — The Profession of Law — Great Lawyers 
and Jurists — Ancient Codes — Imperial Codes — The Law of 
Persons — Rights of Citizens, of Foreigners, of Slaves — Laws 
of Marriage, of Divorce, of Adoption — Paternal Power — 
Guardianship — Laws relating to Real Rights — Law of Obli- 
gations — Laws of Succession — Testaments and Legacies — 
Actions and Procedure in Civil Suits — Criminal Law, 223 



Contents, v 

CHAPTER VII. 

ROMAN LITERATURE. 

PAGE 

The Grecian Models — How far they contributed to Roman Cre- 
ations — The Development of the Latin Language — The Or- 
ators, Poets, Dramatists, Satirists, Historians, and their chief 
Works — How far Literature was cultivated — Schools — Li- 
braries — Literary Legacies of the Romans,: 262 

CHAPTER Vm. 

GRECIAN PHILOSOPHY. 

Its gradual Development from Thales to Aristotle — How far 
the Romans adopted the Greek Philosophy — What Additions 
they made to it — How far it modified Roman Thought and 
Life — Influence of Philosophy on Christianity — Influence on 
modern Civilization, 306 

CHAPTER IX. 

SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE AMONG THE ROMANS. 

The Mathematical Genius of the Old Astronomers — Their La- 
bors and Discoveries — Extent of Astronomical Knowledge — 
The Alexandrian School — The Science of Geometry and how 
far carried — Great Names — Medicine — Geography — Other 
Physical Sciences and their limited Triumphs, 353 

CHAPTER X. 

INTERNAL CONDITION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 

The Vices and Miseries of Roman Society — Social Inequalities 
— Disproportionate Fortunes — The Wealth and Corruption 
of Nobles — Degradation of the People — Vast Extent of Slav- 
ery — The Condition of Women — Demoralizing Games and 
Spectacles — Excessive Luxury and squalid Misery — Money- 
making — Imperial Misrule — Universal Egotism and Insen- 
sibility to grand Sentiments — Hopelessness of Reform — Prep- 
aration for Ruin, 387 



vi Contents. 

CHAPTER XL 

THE FALL OF THE EMPIRE. 

PAO> 

False Security of the Roman People — Their stupendous Delu- 
sions — The Invasion of Barbarians — Their Characteristics — 
Their alternate Victory and Defeat — Desolation of the Prov- 
inces — The Degeneracy of the Legions — General Imbecility 
and Cowardice — Great public Misfortunes — General Union 
of the Germanic Nations — Their Leaders — Noble but vain 
Efforts of a Succession of warlike Emperors — The rising 
Tide of Barbarians — Their irresistible Advance — The Siege 
and Sack of Rome — The Fall of Cities — Miseries of all 
Classes — Universal Despair and Ruin — The Greatness of the 
Catastrophe — Reflections on the Fall of Rome, 436 

CHAPTER XIL 

THE REASONS WHY THE CONSERVATIVE INFLUENCES OF 
PAGAN CIVILIZATION DID NOT ARREST THE RUIN OF 
THE ROMAN WORLD. 

Necessary Corruption of all Institutions under Paganism — Glory 
succeeded by Shame — The Army a worn-out Mechanism — 
The low Aims of Government — Difficulties of the Emperors 
— Laws perverted or unenforced — The Degeneracy of Art — 
The Frivolity of Literature — The imperfect Triumph of Phi- 
losophy — Nothing Conservative in human Creations — Neces- 
sity of Aid from foreign and Divine Sources, 493 

CHAPTER Xm. 

WHY CHRISTIANITY DID NOT ARREST THE RUIN OF THE 
ROMAN EMPIRE. 

The Victories of Christianity came too late — Small Number of 
Converts when Christianity was a renovating Power — Their 
comparative Unimportance in a political and social View for 
three Centuries — The Church constructs a Polity for Itself 
rather than seeks to change established Institutions — Rapid 
Corruption of Christianity when established, and Adoption of 
Pagan Ideas and Influences — No Renovation of worn-out 
Races — No Material on which Christianity could work — Not 



Contents. vii 

PAOB 

the Mission of the Church to save Empires, but the Race — 
A diseased Body must die, 537 

CHAPTER XIV. 

THK LEGACY OF THE EARLY CHURCH TO FUTURE GEN- 
ERATIONS. 

The great Ideas which the Fathers propounded — The Principle of 
Self-sacrifice, seen especially in early Martyrdoms — The Idea 
of Benevolence in connection with public and private Chari- 
ties — Importance of public Preaching — Pulpit Oratory — 
The Elaboration of Christian Doctrine — Its Connection with 
Philosophy — Church Psalmody — The Principle of Christian 
Equality — Its Effects on Slavery and the Elevation of the 
People — The Social Equality of the Sexes — Superiority in 
the condition of the modern over the ancient Woman — The 
Idea of Popular Education — The Unity of the Church, 576 



INTRODUCTION. 



I PROPOSE to describe the Greatness and the Misery of 
the old Roman world ; nor is there any thing in history 
more suggestive and instructive. 

A little city, founded by robbers on the banks of the 
Tiber, rises gradually into importance, although the great 
cities of the East are scarcely conscious of its existence. Its 
early siruggles simply arrest the attention, and excite the 
jealousy, of the neighboring nations. The citizens of this 
little state are warriors, and, either for defense or glory, 
they subdue one after another the cities of Latium and 
Etruria, then the whole of Ita'y, and finally the old 
monarchies and empires of the world. In two hundred 
and fifty years the citizens have become nobles, and a 
great aristocracy is founded, which lasts eight hundred 
years. Their aggressive policy and unbounded ambition 
involve the whole world in war, which does not cease 
until all the nations known to the Greeks acknowledge 
their sway. Everywhere Roman laws, language, and in- 
stitutions spread. A vast empire arises, larger than the 
Assyrian and the Macedonian combined, — a universal 
empire, — a great wonder and mystery, having all the 
grandeur of a providential event. It becomes too great 
to be governed by an oligarchy of nobles. Civil wars 
create an imperator, who, uniting in himself all the great 
offices of state, and sustained by the conquering legions, 
rules from East to West and from North to South, with 
absolute and undivided sovereignty. The CaBsars reach 
the summit of human greatness and power, and the city 



10 Introduction, 

of Romulus becomes the haughty mistress of the world. 
The emperor is worshiped as a deity, and the proud me- 
tropolis calls herself eternal. An empire is established by 
force of arms and by a uniform policy, such as this world 
has not seen before or since. 

Early Roman history is chiefly the detail of successful 
wars, aggressive and uncompromising, in which we see a 
fierce and selfish patriotism, an indomitable will, a hard 
unpitying temper, great practical sagacity, patience, and 
perseverance, superiority to adverse fortune, faith ir. na- 
tional destinies, heroic sentiments, and grand ambition. 
We see a nation of citizen soldiers, an iron race of con- 
querors, bent on conquest, on glory, on self-exaltation, 
attaching but little value to the individual man, but exalt- 
ing the integrity and unity of the state. We see no fitful 
policy, no abandonment to the enjoyment of the fruits of 
victory, no rest, no repose, no love of art or literature, but 
an unbounded passion for domination. The Romans toiled, 
and suffered, and died, — never wearied, never discour- 
aged, never satisfied, until their mission was accomplished 
and the world lay bleeding and prostrate at their feet. 

In the latter days of the Republic, the Roman citizen, 
originally contented with a few acres in the plains and val- 
leys through which the Tiber flowed, becomes a great 
landed proprietor, owning extensive estates in the con- 
quered territories, an aristocrat, a knight, a senator, a no- 
ble, while his dependents disdained to labor and were fed 
at the public expense. The state could afford to give 
them corn, oil, and wine, for it was the owner of Egypt, 
of Greece, of Asia Minor, of Syria, of Spain, of Gaul, of 
Africa, — a belt of territory around the Mediterranean 
Sea one thousand miles in breadth, embracing the whole 
temperate zone, from the Atlantic Ocean to the wilds of 
Scythia. The Romans revel in the spoils of the nations 
they have conquered, adorn their capital with the won- 
ders of Grecian art, and abandon themselves to pleasure 



Introduction. 11 

and money-making. The Roman grandees divide among 
themselves the lands and riches of the world, and this 
dwelling-place of princes looms up the proud centre of 
mundane glory and power. 

In the great success of the Romans, we notice not only 
their own heroic qualities, but the hopeless degeneracy of 
the older nations and the reckless turbulence of the west- 
ern barbarians, both of whom needed masters. 

The conquered world must be governed. The Romans 
had a genius for administration as well as for war. While 
war was reduced to a science, government became an art. 
>^ Seven hundred years of war and administration gave ex- 
perience and skill, and the wisdom thus learned became a 
legacy to future civilizations. 

It was well, both for enervated orientals and wild bar- 
barians, to be ruled by such iron masters. The nations 
at last enjoyed peace and prosperity, and Christianity was 
born and spread. A new power silently arose, which was 
destined to change government, and science, and all the 
relations of social life, and lay a foundation for a new and 
more glorious structure of society than what Paganism 
could possibly create. We see the hand of Providence in 
all these mighty changes, and it is equally august in over- 
ruling the glories and the shame of a vast empire for the 
ultimate good of the human race. 

If we more minutely examine the history of either Re- 
publican or Imperial Rome, we read lessons of great sig- 
nificance. In the Republic we see a constant war of 
classes and interests, — plebeians arrayed against patri- 
cians ; the poor opposed to the rich ; the struggle be- 
tween capital and labor, between an aristocracy and de- 
mocracy. Although the favored classes on the whole 
retained ascendancy, yet the people constantly gained priv- 
ileges, and at last were enabled, by throwing their influ- 
ence into the hands of demagogues, to overturn the consti- 
tution. Julius Ciesar, the greatest name in ancient his- 



12 Introduction. 

tory, himself a patrician, by courting the people triumphed 
over the aristocratical oligarchy and introduced a new 
regime. His dictatorship was the consummation of the 
victories of the people over nobles as signally as the sub- 
mission of all classes to fortunate and unscrupulous gen- 
erals. 

We err, however, in supposing that the Republic was 
ever a democracy, as we understand the term, or as it was 
understood in Athens. Power was always in the hands 
of senators, nobles, and rich men, as it still is in England, 
and was in Venice. Popular liberty was a name, and 
democratic institutions were feeble and shackled. The 
citizen-noble was free, not the proletarian. The latter had 
the redress of laws, but only such as the former gave. 
How exclusive must have been an aristocracy when the 
Claudian family boasted that, for five hundred years, it 
had never received any one into it by adoption, and when 
the Emperor Nero was the first who received its privi- 
leo;es ! It is with the senatorial families, who contrived 
to retain all the great offices of the state, that everything 
interesting in the history of RepubHcan Rome is identified, 
— whether poUtical quarrels, or private feuds, or legisla- 
tion, or the control of armies, or the improvements of the 
city, or the government of provinces. It was they, as sen- 
ators, governors, consuls, generals, quaestors, who gave the 
people baths, theatres, and temples. They headed factions 
as well as armies. They were the state. 

The main object to which the reigning classes gave 
their attention was war, — the extension of the empire. 
" JJbi castra^ ihi respuhlica.^^ Republican Rome was a 
camp, controlled by aristocratic generals. Dominion and 
conquest were their great ideas, their aim, their ambition. 
To these were sacrificed pleasure, gain, ease, luxury, 
learning, and art. And when they had conquered they 
sought to rule, and they knew how to rule. Aside from 
conquest and government there is nothing peculiarly im- 



Introduction, 13 

pressive in Roman history, except the struggles of poHtical 
leaders and the war of classes. 

But in these there is wonderful fascination. The 
mythic period under kings ; the contests with Latins, 
Etruscans, Volscians, Samnites, and Gauls; the legends 
of Porsenna, of Cincinnatus, of Coriolanus, of Virginia ; 
the heroism of Camillus, of Fabius, of Decius, of Scipio ; 
the great struggle with Pyrrhus and Hannibal ; the wars 
with Carthage, Macedonia, and Asia Minor ; the rivalries 
between patrician and plebeian families ; the rise of trib- 
unes ; the Maenian, Hortensian, and Agrarian laws ; the 
noble efforts of the Gracchi ; the censorship of Cato ; the 
civil wars of Marius and Sulla, and their exploits, followed 
by the still greater conquests of Pompey and Julius ; these, 
and other feats of heroism and strength, are full of in'':erest 
which can never be exhausted. We ponder on tliem in 
youth ; we return to them in old age. 

And yet the real grandeur of Rome is associated with 
the emperors. With their accession there is a change in 
the policy of the state from war to peace. There is a 
greater desire to preserve than extend the limits of the 
empire. The passion for war is succeeded by a passion for 
government and laws. Labor and toil give place to leisure 
and enjoyment. Great works of art appear, and these be- 
come historical, — the Pantheon, the Forum Augusti, the 
Flavian Amphitheatre, the Column of Trajan, the Baths 
of Caracalla, the Aqua Claudia, the golden house of Nero, 
the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Temple of Venus and 
Rome, the Arch of Septimus Severus. The city is 
changed from brick to marble, and palaces and theatres 
and temples become colossal. Painting and sculpture or- 
nament every part of the city. There are more marble 
busts than living men. Life becomes more complicated 
and factitious. Enormous fortunes are accumulated. A 
liberal patronage is extended to artists. Literature de- 
clines, but great masterpieces of genius are still produced. 



14 Introduction. 

Medicine, law, and science flourish. A beautiful suburban 
life is seen on all the hills, while gardens and villas are the 
object of perpetual panegyric. From all corners of the 
earth strangers flock to see the wonders of the mighty me- 
tropolis, more crowded than London, more magnificent 
than Paris, more luxurious than New York. Fetes, shows, 
processions, gladiatorial combats, chariot races, form the 
amusement of the vast populace. A majestic centralized 
power controls all kingdoms, and races, and peoples. The 
highest state of prosperity is reached that the ancient world 
knew, and all bow down to Csesar and behold in him the 
representative of divine providence, from whose will there 
is no appeal, and from whose arm it is impossible to fly. 

But mene^ mene^ teJcel, upharsin^ is written on the walls 
of the banqueting chambers of the palace of the Csesars. 
The dream of omnipotence is disturbed by the invasion of 
Germanic barbarians. They press toward the old seats 
of power and riches to improve their condition. They are 
warlike, fierce, implacable. They fear not death, and are 
urged onward by the lust of rapine and military zeal. 
The old legions, which penetrated the Macedonian pha- 
lanx and withstood the Gauls, cannot resist the shock of 
their undisciplined armies ; for martial glory has fled, and 
the people prefer their pleasures to the empire. Great 
emperors are raised up, but they are unequal to the task 
of preserving the crumbling empire. The people, ener- 
vated and egotistical, are scattered like sheep or are made 
slaves. The proud capitals of the world fall before the 
ruthless invaders. Desolation is everywhere. The bar- 
barians trample beneath their heavy feet the proud tro- 
phies of ancient art and power. The glimmering life- 
sparks of the old civilization disappear. The world is 
abandoned to fear, misery, and despair, and there is no 
help, for retributive justice marches on with impressiv^e 
solemnity. Imperial despotism, disproportionate fortunes, 
unequal divisions of society, the degradation of woman, 



Introduction, 16 

slavery, Epicurean pleasures, practical atheism, bring forth 
their wretched fruits. The vices and miseries of society 
cannot be arrested. Glory is succeeded by shame ; all 
strength is in mechanism, and that wears out ; vitality 
passes away ; the empire is weak from internal decay, and 
falls easily into the hands of the new races. " Violence 
was only a secondary cause of the ruin ; the vices of self- 
interest were the primary causes. A world, as fair and 
glorious as our own, crumbles away." Our admiration 
is changed to sadness and awe. The majesty of man is 
rebuked by the majesty of God. 

Such a history is suggestive. Why was such an empire 
permitted to rise over the bleeding surface of the world, 
and what was its influence on the general destiny of the 
race ? How far has its civilization perished, and how ikr 
has it entered into new combinations ? Was its strength 
material, or moral, or intellectual? How far did litera- 
ture, art, science, laws, philosophy, prove conservative 
forces? Why did Christianity fail to arrest so total an 
eclipse of the glory of man ? Why did a magnificent civ- 
ilization prove so feeble a barrier against corruption and 
decay ? Why was the w^orld to be involved in such uni- 
versal gloom and wretchedness as followed the great catas- 
trophe ? Could nothing arrest the stupendous downfall ? 

And when we pass from the great facts of Roman his- 
tory to the questions which it suggests to a contemplative 
mind in reference to the state of society among ourselves, 
on which history ought to shed light, what enigmas remain 
to be solved. Does moral worth necessarily keep pace 
with aesthetic culture, or intellectual triumphs, or material 
strength ? Do the boasted triumphs of civilization create 
those holy certitudes on which happiness is based ? Can 
vitality in states be preserved by mechanical inventions ? 
Does society expand from inherent laws of development, 
or from influences altogether foreio-n to man ? Is it the 
settled destiny of nations to rise to a certain height in wis- 



16 Introduction, 

dom and power, and then pass away in ignominy and 
gloom? Is there permanence in any human institutions? 
Will society move round in perpetual circles, incapable of 
progression and incapable of rest, or will it indefinitely im- 
prove ? May there not be the highest triumphs of art, 
literature, and science, where the mainsprings of society 
are sensuality and egotism? Is the tendency of society 
to democratic, or aristocratic, or despotic governments? 
Does Christianity, in this dispensation, merely furnish 
witnesses of truth, or will it achieve successive conquests 
over human degeneracy till the race is emancipated and 
saved ? Can it arrest the downward tendency of society, 
when it is undermined by vices which blunt the conscience 
of mankind, and which are sustained by all that is proud 
in rank, brilliant in fashion, and powerful in wealth ? 

These are inquiries on which Roman history sheds light. 
If history is a guide or oracle, they are full of impressive 
significance. Can we afford to reject all the examples of 
the past in our sanguine hopes for the future ? Human 
nature is the same in any age, and human experiences 
point to some great elemental truths, which the Bible con- 
firms. We may be unmoved by them, but they remain in 
solemn dignity for all generations ; " and foremost of 
them," as Charles Kingsley has so well said, " stands a 
law which man has been trying in all ages, as now, to 
deny, or at least to ignore, and that is, — that as the fruit 
of righteousness is wealth and peace, strength and honor, 
the fruit of unrighteousness is poverty and anarchy, weak- 
ness and shame ; for not upon mind^ but upon morals^ is 
human welfare founded. Science is indeed great ; but she 
is not the greatest. She is an instrument, and not a 
power. But her lawful mistress, the only one under 
whom she can truly grow, and prosper, and prove her 
divine descent, is Virtue, the likeness of Almighty God, 
— an anciont doctrine, yet one ever young, and which no 
discoveries in science will ever abrofTate." 



Introduction. 17 

Hence the great aim of history should be a dispassionate 
inquiry into the genius of past civiHzations, especially in a 
moral point of view. Wherem were they weak or strong, 
vital or mechanical, permanent or transient ? "We wish to 
know that we may compare them with our own, and learn 
lessons of wisdom. The rise and fall of the Roman Em- 
pire is especially rich in the facts which bear on our own 
development. Nor can modern history be comprehended 
without a survey of the civilization which has entered into 
our own, and forms the basis of many of our own institu- 
tions. Rome perished, but not wholly her civilization. 
So far as it was founded on the immutable principles of 
justice, or beauty, or love, it will never die, but will re- 
main a precious legacy to all generations. So far as it was 
founded on pride, injustice, and selfishness, it ignobly dis- 
appeared. Men die, and their trophies of pride are buried 
in the dust, but their truths live. All truth is indestructi- 
ble, and survives both names and marbles. 

Roman history, so grand and so mournful, on the whole 
suggests cheering views for humanity, since out of the 
ruins, amid the storms, aloft above the conflagration, there 
came certain indestructible forces, which, when united with 
\ Christianity, developed a new and more glorious condition 
of humanity. Creation succeeded destruction. All that 
was valuable in art, in science, in literature, in philosophy, 
in laws, has been preserved. The useless alone has per- 
ished with the worn-out races themselves. The licrht 
which scholars, and artists, and poets, and philosophers, 
and lawgivers kindled, illuminated the path of the future 
guides of mankind. And especially the great ideas which 
the persecuted Christians unfolded, projected themselves 
into the shadows of mediaeval Europe, and gave a new 
direction to human thought and life. New sentiments 
arose, more poetic and majestic than ever existed in the 
ancient world, giving radiance to homes, peace to families, 
elevation to woman, liberty to the slave, compassion for the 



18 Introduction, 

miserable, self-respect to the man of toil, exultation to the 
martyr, patience to the poor, and glorious hopes to all ; 
so that in rudeness, in poverty, in discomfort, in slavery, 
in isolation, in obloquy, peace and happiness were born, 
and a new race, with noble elements of character, arose in 
the majesty of renovated strength to achieve still grander 
victories, and confer hio-her blessino-s on mankind. 

Thus the Roman Empire, whose fall was so inglorious, 
and whose chastisement was so severe, was made by Prov- 
idence to favor the ultimate progress of society, since its 
civilization entered into new combinations, and still re- 
mains one of the proudest monuments of human genius. 

It is this civilization, in its varied aspects, both good 
and evil, lofty and degraded, which in the following chap- 
ters I seek to show. This is the real point of interest in 
Roman history. Let us see what the Romans really ac- 
complished — the results of their great enterprises ; the sys- 
tems they matured w^ith so much thought ; the institutions 
they bequeathed to our times ; yea, even those vices and 
follies which they originally despised, and which, if allowed 
to become dominant, must^ according to all those laws 
of which we have cognizance, ultimately overwhelm any 
land in misery, shame, and ruin. 

In presenting this civilization, I aim to generalize the 
most important facts, leaving the reader to examine at 
his leisure recondite authorities, in wdiich, too often, the 
argument is obscured by minute details, and art is buried 
in learning. 



THE OLD ROMAN WORLD. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE CONQUESTS OF THE ROMANS. 

One of the features of Roman greatness, which preemi- 
nently arrests attention, is mihtary genius and strength. 
The Romans surpassed all the nations of antiquity in the 
brilliancy and solidity of their conquests. They conquered 
the world, and held it in subjection. For many centuries 
they stamped their iron heel on the necks of prostrate and 
suppliant kings, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caspian 
Sea. Nothing could impede, except for a time, their irre- 
sistible progress from conquering to conquer. They were 
warriors from the earliest period of their history, and all 
their energies were concentrated upon conquest. Their 
aggressive policy never changed so long as there was a 
field for its development. They commenced as a band 
of robbers ; they ended by becoming masters of all the 
countries and kingdoms which tempted their cupidity or 
aroused their ambition. Their empire was universal, — the 
only universal empire which ever existed on this earth, — 
and it was won with the sword. It was not a rapid con- 
quest, but it was systematic and irresistible, evincing great 
genius, perseverance, and fortitude. 
. The successive and fortunate conquests of the Romans 
were the admiration, the envy, and the fear of all The Romans 

1 1 PIT ^Stifc from a 

nations — so marvelous and successiul that they fixed purpose 



20 The Coyiquests of the Romans. [Chap, l 

have the majesty of a providential event. They cannot be 
called a mystery, since we see the persistent adaptation of 
means to an end. But no other nation ever evinced this 
uniform military policy, except for a limited period, or 
under the stimulus of a temporary enthusiasm, such as 
characterized the Saracens and the Germanic barbarians. 
The Romans fought when there was no apparent need of 
fighting, when their empire already embraced' most of the 
countries known to tlie ancients. The Egyptians, the 
Assyrians, the Persians, and the Greeks made magnificent 
conquests, but their empire was partial and limited, and 
soon passed away. The Greeks evinced great mihtary 
genius, and the enterprises of Alexander have been re- 
garded as a wonder. But the Greeks did not fight, as the 
Romans did, from a fixed purpose to bring all nations under 
their sway, and they yielded, in turn, to the Romans. The 
Romans were never subdued, but all nations were subdued 
by them — even superior races. They erected a universal 
monarchy, which fell to pieces by its own weight, when the 
vices of self-interest had accomplished their work. They 
became the prey of barbarians in a very different sense from 
that which reduced the ancient empires. They did not 
yield to any powerful, warlike neighbor, as the Persians 
yielded to the Greeks, but to successive waves of unknown 
warriors who came in quest of settlement, and then only 
when all Roman vigor had fled, and the whole policy of 
the empire was changed — when it was tlie aim of emper- 
ors to conserve old conquests, not make new ones. 

With the Romans, for a thousand years, war was a pas- 
warapas- siou ; and, while it lasted, it consumed all other 

Bion with the . ^ . ^ 

Romans. passious. It aumiatcd statesmen, rulers, gen- 
erals, and citizens alike, ever burning, never at rest, — a 
passion unscrupulous, resistless, all-pervading, all-absorb- 
ing, all-conquering. Success in war gave consideration, 
dignity, honor beyond all other successes. It always has 
called out popular admiration, and its glory has ever been 



Chap. I.] Roman Military Art, 21 

highly prized, and it always will be so, but it has not 
monopolized all offices and dignities as among the Ro- 
mans. The Greeks thought of art, of literature, and of phi- 
losophy as well as of war, and gave their crowns of glory for 
civic and artistic excellence as well as for military success. 
The Greeks fought to preserve or extend their civilization ; 
the Romans, in order to rule. They had very little respect 
for any thing beyond military genius. The successful war- 
rior alone was the founder of a great family. The Roman 
aristocracy, so proud, so rich, so powerful, was based on 
the glory of battle-fields. Every citizen was trained to 
arms, and senators and statesmen commanded armies. 
The whole fabric of the State was built up on war, and 
for many centuries it was the leading occupation of the 
people. How insignificant was a poet, or a painter, or a 
philosopher by the side of a warrior ! Rome was a city 
of generals, and they preoccupied the public mind. 

To a Roman, military art was the highest of all. It 
was constantly being improved, until it reached vaiue placed 
absolute perfection, with the old weapons and im- Sam^oifmii- 
plements of war. To its perfection the whole gen- ^*^^^ ^^*' 
ius of the people was consecrated; it was to them what the 
fine arts were to the Greeks, what priestly domination was to 
the Middle Ages, and what material inventions to abridge 
human labor are to us. The Romans despised literature, 
art, philosoph}^, commerce, agriculture, and even luxury, 
w^hen they were making their grand conquests ; they only 
respected their fortunate generals. Hence there was no 
great encouragement to genius or ambition in any other 
field ; but in this field, the horizon perpetually expanded. 
Every new conquest prepared the way for successive con- 
quests ; ambition here was untrammeled, energy was un- 
bounded, visions of glory were most dazzling, warlike 
schemes were most fertile, until the whole world lay bleed- 
ing and prostrate. 

Military genius, however, does not present man in the 



22 The Conquests of the Romans, [Chap. i. 

highest state of wisdom or beauty. It is very attractive, 
Lawfulness ^^* " there is a greater than the warrior's excel- 
ofwar. jence," at least to a contemplative or religious 

eye. When men save nations, in fearful crises, by their 
military genius, as Napoleon did France when surrounded 
with hostile armies, or Gustavus Adolphus did Germany 
when it was struggling for religious rights, then they ren- 
der the greatest possible services, and receive no unmerited 
honors. The heart of the world cherishes the fame of Mil- 
tiades, of Charlemagne, of Henry IV., of Washington ; for 
they were identified with great causes. War is one of the 
occasional necessities of our world. No nation can live, or 
is worthy to live, without military virtues. They rescue 
nations on the verge of ruin, and establish great rights, 
without which life is nothing. War, however much to be 
lamented as an evil, is the last appeal and resource of na- 
tions, and settles what cannot be settled without it ; and 
\^it will probably continue so long as there are blindness, 
ambition, and avarice among men.") Nor, under certain cir- 
cumstances, of which nations can only be the proper judges, 
is it inconsistent with the law of love. Hence, as it is a 
great necessity, it will ever be valued as a great science. 
Civilization accepts it and claims it. It calls into exercise 
great qualities, and these intoxicate the people, who bow 
down to them as godlike. 

Still, military genius, however lauded and honored, is 
Those who too oftcn allied with ambition and selfishness to 
ce8sfu°?a"^" secure the highest favor of philosophers or Chris- 
^^^' tians. It does not reveal the soul in its loftiest 

aspirations. Men of a coarser type are often most suc- 
cessful, — men insensible to pity and to reproach, whose 
greatest merit is in will, nerve, energy, and power of mak- 
ing rapid combinations. We revere the intellect of the 
Greeks more than that of the Romans, though thev were 
inferior to tlie latter in mihtary success. We have more 
respect for those qualities which add to the domain of truth 



Chap. I.] Aggressive Military Policy of the Romans. 23 

than tliose which secure power. A wise man elevates the 
Bacons, the Newtons, and tlie Shakespeares above all the 
Marlborouffhs and Wellino-tons. Plato is surrounded with a 
brighter halo than Themistocles, and Cicero than Marius. 

War as a trade is unscrupulous, hard, rapacious, de- 
structive. It foments all the- evil passions; it The general 
is allied with all the vices; it is antagonistic to ^viisofwar. 
human welfare. It glories merely in strength ; it wor- 
ships only success. It raises wicked men to power ; it 
prostrates and hides the good. It extinguishes what is 
most lovely, and spurns what is most exalted. It makes a 
pandemonium of earth, and drags to its triumphal car the 
venerated relics of ages. It is an awful crime, making 
slaves of the helpless, and spreading consternation, misery, 
and death wherever it goes — marking its progress with a 
trail of blood, and filling the earth with imprecations and 
curses. It is the greatest scourge which God uses to chas- 
tise enervated nations, and cannot be contemplated with 
any satisfaction except 'as the wrath which is made to 
praise the Sovereign Ruler who employs what means He 
chooses to punish or exalt. 

Now the Romans, in a general sense, pursued war as 
a trade, to gratify a thirst for power, to raise Spirit of the 

■, T , . p . , . Romans in 

themselves on the rums oi ancient monarchies, their wars. 
to enrich themselves with the spoils of the world, and to 
govern it for selfish purposes. There were many Roman 
wars which were exceptions, wdien an exalted patriotism 
was the animating principle ; but aggressive war was the 
policy and shame of Rome. Her citizens did not generally 
fight to preserve liberties or rights or national existence, 
but for self-aggrandizement. Incessant campaigns for a 
thousand years brought out military science, courage, en- 
ergy, and a grasping and selfish patriotism. They gave 
power, skill to rule, executive talents ; and these qual- 
ities, eminently adapted to worldly greatness, made the 
Romans universal masters, even if they do not, make them 



24 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap, i, 

interesting. They developed great strength, resource, will, 
and even made them wise in administration, possibly great 
civilizers, since centralized power is better tlian anarchies ; 
yet these traits do not make us love them, or revere them. 
Providence doubtless ordered the universal monarchv, 
whicli only universal war could establish, for the good of 
the world at that time, for the advancement of civiliza- 
tion itself. Universal dominion must be succeeded by uni- 
versal peace, and in such a peace the higher qualities and 
virtues and talents can only be manifested, so that the 
Roman rule was not a calamity, but a very desirable des- 
potism. Yet despotism it was, — cold, remorseless, self- 
seeking. War made the Romans practical, calculating, 
overbearing, proud, scornful, imperious. 

But war made them a great people, and made them 
Success of eminent in certain great qualities. Their suc- 

the Koiaans . . . , . 

in war, ccss m War IS tantamount to saymg that in one 

great field of genius, which civilization honors, they not 
merely distinguislied themselves, and gained a proud fame 
which will never die out of the memory of man, but that 
they have had no equals in any age. War enabled them 
to build up a vast empire, which empire gave a great im- 
pulse to ancient civilization. 

There is something very singular and mysterious in the 
results of wars which are caused and carried on by unprin- 
cipled and unscrupulous men. They are made to end in 
substantial benefits to the human race. The wrath of man, 
in other words, is made to praise God, showing that He is 
the Sovereign ruler on this earth, and uses what instru- 
ments He pleases to carry out his great and benevolent 
desio;ns. However atrocious the causes of wars, and exe- 
crable the spirit in which they are carried out, they are 
ever made to subserve the benefit of future ages, and the 
great cause of civilization in its vast connections. Men 
may be guilty, and may be punished for their wickedness, 
and execrated through all time by enlightened nations ; still 



Chap. I.] Ultimate Results of War, 25 

they are but tools of the higher power. I do not say that 
God is the author of wars any more than He is of sin ; but 
wars are yet sent as a punishment to those whom they 
directly and immediately affect, while they unbind the 
cords of slavery, and relax the hold of tyrants. TJiey are 
like storms in the natural world : they create a healthier 
moral life, after the disasters are past. Those ambitious 
men, who seek to add province to province and king- 
dom to kingdom, and for whom no maledictions are too 
severe, since they shed innocent blood, rarely succeed un- 
less they quarrel with doomed nations incapable of renova- 
tion. Thus Babylon fell before Cyrus when her day had 
come, and she could do no more for civilization. Thus 
Persia, in her turn, yielded to the Grecian heroes when 
she became enervated with* the luxuries of the conquered 
kino;doms. Thus Greece again succumbed to Rome when 
she had degenerated into a land where every vice was 
rampant. The passions which inflamed Cyrus, and Alex- 
ander, and Pompey were alike imperious, and their pol- 
icy was alike unscrupulous. They simply were bent on 
conquest, and on establishing powerful empires, which 
conquests doubtless resulted in the improvement of the 
condition of mankind. There is also somethino; hard and 
forbidding in the policy of successful statesmen. We are 
shocked at their injustice, cruelty, and rapaciousness ; but 
they are often used by Providence to raise nations Providence 

... 1 1 • 1 • s,een in the 

to preeminence, when their ascendency is, on the ascendency 
whole, a benefit to the world. There is nothing tions. 
amiable or benign in the characters of such men as Oxen- 
stiern, Richelieu, or Bismarck, but who can doubt the wis- 
dom of their administration ? It is seldom that any nation 
, is allowed to have a great ascendency over other nations 
unless the sjeneral influence of the dominant State is favor- 
able to civilization ; and when this influence is perverted 
the ascendency passes away. This is remarkably seen in 
the history of the Persian, the Greek, and the Roman Em- 



26 The Conquests of the Romans, [Chap. i. 

pires, and still more forcibly in the empire of the popes in 
the Middle Asies, and of the vast influence of France and 
England during the last hundred years. This is both a mys- 
tery and a flict. It is mysterious that bad men should be 
allowed to succeed so often, but it is one of the sternest 
facts of life, only to be explained on the principle that they 
are instruments in the hands of the Great Moral Governor 
whose designs we are not able to fathom, yet the wisdom 
of which is subsequently, though imperfectly, made known. 
It was wicked in the sons of Jacob to sell Joseph to the 
Ishmaelites ; their craft and lies were successful : they de- 
ceived their father and accomplished their purposes ; yet 
his bondage was the means of their preservation from the 
evils of famine. The rise and fall of empires are to be ex- 
plained on the same principles as the rise and fall of fam- 
ilies. A coarse, unscrupulous but enterprising man gets 
rich, but his wealth is made to subserve interests far 
greater than that of his children. Hospitals, colleges, and 
libraries are endowed as monasteries were in the Middle 
Ages. If vice, selfishness, and pride were not overruled, 
what would become of our world ? The whole history of 
civilization is the good which is made to spring out of evil. 
Men are nothing in comparison with Omnipotence. What 
are human plans ? Yet enterprise and virtue and talent 
are rewarded. In the affairs of life we see that goodness 
does not lose its recompense, and that vice is punished ; 
but beyond, what more impressively do we behold than 
this, that the instruments of punishment are often the 
wicked themselves. 

Amono[ the worst wars in history — uncalled for, unscru- 
There5;uus pulous, fhuatical — wcre the Crusades. And 

of the Cra- , „ 

sades. when were wars more unfortunate, more unsuc- 

cessful? Five millions of Crusaders perished miserably in 
those mad expeditions stimulated by hatred of jNIohammed- 
anism. No troj)hies consoled Europe for its enormous 
losses, extended over two hundred years. But those wars 



Chap. I.] Result of the Crusades. 27 

developed the resources of Europe ; they broke the power 
of feudal barons ; they promoted commerce and the arts of 
life ; they led to greater liberality of mind ; they opened the 
horizon of knowledge ; they introduced learned men into 
rising universities ; they centralized the power of kings ; 
they weakened the temporal jurisdiction of the popes ; 
they improved architecture, sculpture, and painting ; they 
built free cities ; they gave a new stimulus to all the ener- 
gies of the European nations. Their benefits to civiliza- 
tion were not the legitimate result of destructive passions. 
The natural penalty of folly and crime was paid Their imme- 

, , , . ,. ' . . •,. diate conse- 

m hardship, sorrow, disease, captivity, disap- q^ieucesare 

, , , -P, pi disastrous ; 

pointment, poverty, and death. Jiut out ot the their uiti- 

, . 1 r» 1 mate, bene- 

asiies a new creation arose, not what any or the ficiai. 
leaders of those movements ever contemplated — infinitely 
removed from the thoughts of Bernard, Urban, Philip, and 
Richai'd, great men as they were, far-sighted statesmen, 
who expected other results. The hand which guided that 
warfare between Europe and Asia was the hand that led 
the Israelites out of Egypt across the Red Sea. Moreover, 
quern deus vult perdere prius dementat. What uprising 
more fooHsh, insane, disastrous, than the great Southern 
rebellion ! Its result was never dreamed of for a moment 
by those Southern leaders. They hoped to see the estab- 
lishment of a great empire based on slavery ; they saw 
the utter destruction of slavery itself. The course by 
wdiich they anticipated dominion and riches ended in their 
temporal ruin. They were made the destroyers of their own 
pet system, when it could not have been destroyed in any 
other way. It was only by a great war that the fetters of 
the slave could be removed, and God sent war so soon as 
it pleased Him to bring the wicked bondage to an end. If 
any thing shows the hand of God it is the wars of the na- 
tions. They are sent like the famine and the pestilence. 
All human wisdom and power sink into insignificance when 
they are put forth to stop these scourges of the Almighty. 



28 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

It is against all reason that they ever come ; yet they do 
come, and then crimes are avenged ; evil punishes evil, and 
succeeding generations are made to see that the progress of 
the race is tlirough sorrow and sufferino;. No oreat em- 
pire is built up but with the w^ill of God. No empire falls 
without deserving the chastisement and the ruin. But 
God has promised to save and to redeem, and the world 
moves on in accordance with natural laws, and each suc- 
cessive century witnesses somehow or other a great ad- 
vance in the general condition of mankind. It is not the 
great rulers wdio plan this improvement. It comes from 
Heaven. It comes in spite of human degeneracy, Avhich, 
if left to itself, would doubtless soon produce a state of so- 
ciety like that which is attributed to the nations " before 
the flood came and destroyed them all." 

With this view of war — always aggressive with one 
Wars over. P^'i'ty, always a calamity to both ; the greatest 
gockfo^na^-^^ calamity known to the nations, exhausting, bloody, 
tions. cruel, sweeping every thing before it ; a moral 

conflagration, bringing every kind of suffering and sorrow in 
its train, yet made to result as a retribution to worn-out and 
degenerate races, and a means of vast development of re- 
sources among those peoples which have life and energy, — 
we see the providence of God in the Roman Conquests. 
The 2:radual growth of Rome as a warlike state is a most 
impressive example of the agency of a great Moral Gov- 
ernor in breaking up states that deserved to perish, and in 
building up a power such as the w^orld needed in order to 
facilitate both a magnificent civilization and the peaceful 
spread of a new religion. The Greeks created art and lit- 
erature ; the Romans, laws and government, by which so- 
ciety everywhere was made more secure and tranquil, until 
the good which arose from the evil was itself perverted. 

Under the kingly rule Rome becomes the most impor- 
Growth of tant and powerful of the cities of Latium, and a 
the kings. foundation is laid of social, religious, and poHtical 



Chap. I.] Heroic Period of Roman History, 29 

mstitutions which are destined to achieve a magnificent 
triumph. The kings of Rome are all great men — wise 
and statesmanlike, patrons of ciA^lization among a rude and 
primitive people. No state for more than two hundred years 
was ever ruled by more enlightened princes, ambitious in- 
deed, sometimes unscrupulous, but fortunate and successful. 
The benefits derived from the conquests and ascendency 
of the city of Romulus were seen in the union of several 
petty states, and the fusion of their customs and manners. 
Before the foundation of the city, Italy was of no account 
wath the older empires. In less than two hundred and 
fifty years a great Italian power grows up on the banks of 
the Tiber, imbued to some extent with the civilization of 
Greece, which it receives through Etruria and the Tarquins. 

But the growth of Rome under the kings was too 
rapid for its moral health. A series of disasters Effect of the 
produced by the expulsion of the Tarquins, dvir- the Tai°° °^ 
incr which the Roman state dwindles into a small ^"^^^" 
territory on the left bank of the Tiber, develops strength 
and martial virtue. It takes Rome one hundred and fifty 
years to recover what it had lost. Moreover its great 
prosperity has provoked envy, and all the small neighbor- 
ins: nations are leao;ued ao;ainst it. These must be sub- 
dued, or Italy will remain divided and subdivided, with no 
central power. 

The heroic period of Roman history begins really with 
the expulsion of the kings ; also the growth of aristocrat- 
ical power. It is not under kings nor democratic influ- 
ences and institutions that Rome reaches preeminence, 
but under an aristocracy. All that is most glorious in 
Roman annals took place under the rule of the Patricians. 

During the one hundred an(i fifty years — when the 
future mistress of the world struggled for its ex- Romestru''- 
istence with ihe cities and inhabitants of Latium, ^^ncTfor" 
Samnium, and Etruria, whose united territories i^^y®*'^^- 
scarcely extended fifty miles from Rome, were developed 



30 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. i. 

the virtues of a martial aristocracy. Our minds kindle 
with the contemplation of their courage, fortitude, patience, 
hope, perseverance, energy, self-devotion, patriotism, and 
religious faith. They deserved success. The long and 
bitter struggle of one hundred and fifty years had more 
of the nature of self-preservation than military ambition. 
The history of those petty wars is interesting, because it is 
romantic. Beautiful legends of early patriotism and he- 
Beautifui i*oism havc been reproduced in all the histories 
life herok fi'OHi Livy to our timcs, like those of the knights 
period. Qjp WY\g Arthur and the paladins of Charlemagne 

in the popular literature of Europe. Poets have made 
them the themes of their inspiration. Painters have 
chosen them as favorite subjects of art. We love to pon- 
der on the bitter exile of Coriolanus, his treasonable re- 
venge, and the noble patriotism of his weeping and in- 
dignant mother, who saved her country but lost her son ; 
on Cincinnatus, taken from the plow and sent as general 
and dictator against the Acquians ; on the Fabian gens, 
defendino* Rome a whole vear from the attacks of the Vei- 
entlnes until they were all cut off, like the Spartan band 
at Thermopylas ; on Siccius Dentatus, the veteran captain 
of one hundred and twenty battles, wlio was only slain by 
rolling a stone from a high rock upon his head ; on Cossos, 
slaying the king of Veii with his own hand ; on the siege 
of Veii, itself, a city as large as Rome, lasting ten years, 
and only finally taken by draining the Alban lake ; on the 
pride and avarice of the banished Camillus, and his subse- 
quent rescue of Rome from the Gauls ; on the sacred geese 
of the capitol, and Manlius who slew its assailants ; on the 
siege of the capitol for seven months by these Celtic in- 
vaders, and the burning and sack of the city, and its deliv- 
They indi- eraucc by the great Camillus. These legends are 
Senc'ror' ^^^ legitimate history, but they show the self-devo- 
greut virtues. ^^^^ ^^^j bravcry, the simplicity and virtue of those 
primitive ages, when luxury was unknown and crime was 



Chap. I.] Heroic Period of Roman History. 31 

severely punished. It was in those days of danger and 
hardship that the foundation of the future military strength 
of the empire was laid. We do not read of military sci- 
ence, of war as an art or trade, or even of great military 
ambition, for the sphere of military operations was narrow 
and obscure, but of preparation for victories, under men 
of genius, in the time to come. That part of Roman his- 
tory bears the same relation to the age of Marius and Sulla, 
that the conquests of the Puritans over the Indians, and 
the difficulties with which they contended, do to the gigan- 
tic warfare of the North and South in the late rebellion. 
The Puritans laid the foundation of the military virtues 
of the Americans, in their colonial state, as the Patri- 
cians of Pome did for one hundred and fifty years after 
the expulsion of the kings. Those petty wars with Yol- 
scians and Acquians brought out the Roman char- Petty wars 
acter, and are the germ of subsequent greatness, boring states 
They took place in the infancy of the republic, triotism. 
under the rule of Patricians, who were not then great 
nobles, but brave and poor citizens, animated with patriotic 
zeal and characterized, like the Puritans, for stern and lofty 
virtues and religious faith, — superstitious and unenlio-ht- 
ened, yet elevated and grand, — qualities on which the 
strength of man is based. It is not puerile to dwell with 
delight on the legends of that heroic age, for the philoso- 
pher sees in those little struggles the germs of imperial 
power. They were small and insignificant, like the battles 
of the American Revolution, when measured with the 
marshaling of vast armies on the plains of Pharsalia or 
Waterloo, but they were great in their inherent heroism 
and in their future results. Who shall say which is greater 
to the eye of the Infinite — the battle of Leipsic, or the 
fight on Bunker Hill ? It is the cause, the principles in- 
volved, the spirit of a contest, which give dignity and im- 
portance to the battle-field. Hence all nations and ao-es 
have felt great interest in the early struggles of Rome. 
They are full of poetry and philosophical importance. 



32 TJie Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. i. 

The Roman historians themselves dwelt upon them with 
peculiar enthusiasm ; and the record of them lives in the 
school-books of all generations, and has not been deemed 
unworthj^ of the critical genius of Niebuhr, of Arnold, or 
of Mommsen. 

The result of this protracted warfare with petty cities 
The com- ^^^^*^ statcs for ouc huudrcd and fifty years was the 
pendeuce'of complctc independence of the City of the Seven 
Rome. Hills, the regaining of the conquests lost by the 

expulsion of Tarquin, the conquest of Latium, the dissolu- 
tion of the Latin League, the possession of the Pontine dis- 
trict, and the extension of Roman power to the valleys of 
the Apennines. The war with the Gauls was not a sys- 
The Gaulish tcmatic coutest. It was a raid of these Celts 



invasion. 



across the Apennines, and the temporary humili- 
ation of the Roman capital. The Gauls burned and sacked 
the city, but soon retreated, and Rome was never again in- 
vaded by a foreign foe until the hordes of Alaric appeared. 
The disaster w^as soon recovered, and the Romans made 
more united by the lesson. 

With the retreat of the Gauls, b. c. 350, and the re- 
covery of Latium, b. c. 341 and four hundred and sixteen 
years from the foundation of the city, tlie aggressive pe- 
riod of Roman w^arfare begins. By this time the Plebeians 
made their power felt, and had obtained one of the two 
consulships ; but for a long time after, the Patricians, 
though shorn of undivided sovereignty, still monopolized 
most of the great offices of state — indeed were the con- 
trolling power, socially and politically. At no period 
was Rome a democratic state ; never had Plebeians the 
ascendency. But now the plebeian influence begins to 
modify the old constitution. All classes, after incessant 
warfare for a centur3' and a half, and exposed to innumer- 
able feuds, united in enterprises of conquest. Rome begins 
to a])pear on the stage of political history. 

The aggressive nature of Roman warfare commenced 
with Samnium. The Samnites were a warlike and pas- 



Chap. I.] Beginning of the Aggressive Policy. 33 

toral people who inhabited the rugged mountain district be- 
tween the valleys of the Yulturnus and the Calor, war with the 
but they were nevertheless barbarians, and the ^^"^'"^•^s- 
contest between them and the Romans was for tlie sover- 
eignty of Italy. I need not mention the alleged causes, 
or the details of a sanguinary war. The alleged causes 
Avere not the tnie one-s, and the details are complicated and 
obscure. We deal with results. The war began b. c. 326, 
and lasted, with short intervals of peace, thirty-six years. 
The Roman heroes were M. Valerius Corvus, L. Papirius 
Cursor, Q. Fabius Maximus, and P. Decius the younger. All 
of these were great generals, and were consuls or dictators. 
As in all great contests, lasting a whole generation, there 
was alternate victory and defeat, disgraced by treachery 
and bad faith. The Romans fought, assisted by Latins, 
Campanians, and Apulians. The Samnites defended them- 
selves in their mountain fastnesses with inflexible obsti- 
nacy, and obtained no assistance from allies until nearly 
worn out, when Umbrians, Etrurians, and Senonian Gauls 
came to the rescue. About sixty thousand men fought on 
each side. The battle of Sentinum determined Decisive bat- 

, tie of Senti- 

the fate of Samnium and Italy, gained by Fa- »«"!. 
bius and Decius, and the Samnites laid down their arms 
and yielded to their rivals. Their brave general, Pontius, 
was beheaded in the prison under the capitol, — an act of in- 
humanity which sullied the laurels of Fabius. The Roman 
power is now established over central and lower Italy, and 
with the exception of a few Greek cities on the coast, La- 
tium, Campania, Apulia, and Samnium are added to the 
territories of the republic. 

In the mean time the political inequality between Patri- 
cians and Plebeians had been removed, and a plebeian 
nobility had grown up, created by success in war and 
domestic factions. The great man in civil his- works of 
tory, during this war, was Appius Claudius the dius. 

Censor, a proud and inflexible Patrician. His great 
3 



34 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap, l 

works were the Appian road and aqueduct. The road 
led to Capua through the Pontine marshes one hundred 
and twenty miles, and was paved with blocks of basalt; 
the aqueduct passed under ground, and was the first of 
those vast works which supplied the city with water. 

About ten years elapsed between the conquest of the 
Samnites and the landing of Pyrrhus in Italy, B. c. 280, 
during which the Romans were brouo-ht in contact with 
Magna Grecia and Syracuse. 

The chief of the Greek-Italian cities was Tarentum, a 
very ancient Lacedaemonian colony. It was admirably 
situated for commerce on the gulf which bears its name, 
was very rich, and abounded in fearless sailors. But like 
most commercial cities, it intrusted its defense to merce- 
naries. It viewed with alarm the growing power of Rome, 
and unable to meet her face to face, called in the aid of 
Tarentum PyrHius, king of Epirus, the greatest general of 
Sd of?y?-^ the age, which was followed by a general rising 
rhus. q£ ^|-^g Italian states, to shake off the Roman yoke. 

Pyrrhus was a soldier of fortune, and practiced war as 
an art, and delighted in it like Alexander or Charles XII. 
He readily responded to the overture of the Tarentine 
Ambassador, and sent over a general with three thousand 
men to secure a footing, and soon followed with twenty 
Expedition tliousaud foot, fivo tliousaud liorse, and a number 

of Pyrrhus n ^ ^ a i • o ^ 

into Italy, ot clcphants. Amoug his troops w^ere nve thou- 
sand Macedonian soldiers, a phalanx such as the Romans 
had never encountered. The Macedonians fouo-ht in 
masses ; the Romans in lines. The first encounter was 
disastrous to the Romans, whose cavalry was frightened 
by the elephants. But Pyrrhus, contented with victor}^, 
did not pursue his advantages, and advanced with easy 
marches towards Rome with seventy thousand men. The 
battle of Heraclea, however, had greatly weakened his 
forces ; his allies proved treacherous ; and he was glad to 
offer terms of peace, which were promptly rejected by the 



Chap. I.] Fall of Tarentum. 35 

Senate. After spending nearly three years in Italy he 
retired to Syracuse, but again tried his fortune against the 
Romans, and was signally routed at the battle of gg jg ^efeat- 
Beneventum by Curius Dentatus. He hastily tk^ofBen^e^^ 
left Italy to her fate, and the fall of Tarentum ^^^*^°^- 
speedily folloAved, which made the Romans masters of the 
whole penhisula. The Macedonian phalanx, w^hich had 
conquered Asia, yielded to the Roman legion, and a new 
lesson was learned in the art of war. 

The Romans, by the fall of Tarentum, were now the 

undisputed masters of Italy, and had made the Results of 

„ 11 Pill *^® ^'^^^ ^f 

first great step towards the conquest ot the world. Tarentum. 

The city of Romulus was now four hundred and eighty 
years old, and the national domain extended from the 
Ciminian wood in Etruria to the middle of the Campania. 
It was called the Ager Romanus, in which was a population 
of two hundred and ninety-three thousand men capable of 
bearing arms ; and the citizens of the various conquered 
cities, who had served certain magistracies in them, were 
enrolled amono; Roman citizens, with all the rio;hts to which 
the citizens of the capital were entitled, — absolute author- 
ity over wife, children, and slaves, security from capital 
punishment except by a vote of the people, or under mili- 
tary authority in the camp, access to all the honors and 
employments of the state, the right of suffrage, and the 
possession of Quirinal property. They felt them- ^^^^ Romans 
selves to be allies of Rome, and henceforward lent n°S^rs1)f 
efficient aid in war. To all practical intents, they ^^^^' 
were Romans as completely as the inhabitants of Mar- 
seilles are French. Tarentum, Neapolis, Tibur, Praeneste, 
and other large cities, enjoyed peculiar privileges ; but 
armed garrisons were maintained in them, under the form 
of colonies. The administration of them was oro;anized 
after the model of Rome. Military roads were constructed 
between all places of importance. 

The same sterlino; virtues which characterized the abso- 



36 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

lute rule of the Patricians still continued, and patriotism 
partook of the nature of religious sentiment. Three Decii 
surrendered their lives for the Roman army, and Manlius 
The Tirtues immolated his son to the genius of discipline ; 

of eminent -r~»r> •! ^ ^ n in n 

Patricians. Kufinus IS degraded from the Senate for pos- 
sessing ten pounds of silver plate, although twice consul 
and once dictator ; Regulus, twice consul, possessed no 
more than one little field in the barren district of Papinice. 
Curius like Fabricius prepared his simple meal with his 
own hand, and refused the gold of the Samnites, as Fabri- 
cius refused that of Pyrrhus. The new masters of Italy 
deserved their empire. There was union because there 
was now political equality. The " new men, like Fabri- 
cius and Curias Dentatus, were not less numerous in the 
Senate than the old Curial families. The aristocracy of 
blood was blended with the aristocracy of merit. The 
consulship gave unity of command, the Senate wisdom 
and the proper strength, preserving a happy equilibrium 
of forces, — the combination of royalty, aristocracy, and 
democracy, which, with military virtues and austere man- 
ners, made an irresistible force." ^ This period, the fifth 
century of the existence of the Roman state, was its 
heroic age. 

But now military aggrandizement became the master- 
Rome pre- passion of the people, and the uniform policy of the 
^Issive'^aS" government. Military virtues still remained, but 
unjust war. the morals of statc began to decHue. Aggressive 
wars, for conquest and power, henceforth, m.ark the prog- 
ress of the Romans ; and not merely aggressive wars, but 
unjust and foreign wars. The step of the Roman is now 
proud and defiant. Visions of unlimited conquest rise up 
before his eye. He is cold, practical, imperious. The 
eagles of the legions are the real objects of pride and rev- 
erence. Mars is the presiding deity. Success is tlie only 
road to honor. 

1 Durny, Ilist. des Romains. 



Chap. I.] Wars with Carthage, 37 

Wliile Rome was completing the reduction of Italy, 
Carthage, a Tyrian colony on the opposite coast Rivalry be- 
of Africa, was extending her conquests in the fiTagrand' 
Islands of the Mediterranean. The Greek col- ^^^"'"• 
onies of Sicily had fallen under her sway. She was a 
rival whose power was formidable, enriched by the com- 
merce of the world, and proud in the number of her allies. 
The city contained seven hundred thousand inhabitants, 
and the walls measured twenty miles in circumference. 

Between such ambitious and unscrupulous rivals, peace 
could not long be maintained. To the eye of the philoso- 
pher the ascendency of Carthage or of Rome over the coun- 
tries which border on the Mediterranean was clearly seen. 
VVhich were better ? Shall the world be governed by a 
martial, law-making, law-loving, heroic common- shaiiRome 
wealth, not yet seduced and corrupted by luxury haveThepre- 
and wealth, or by a commercial, luxurious, selfish ®'^"°^'^^^- 
nation of merchants, whose only desire is self-indulgence 
and follv. Providence sides with Rome — although Rome 
cannot be commended, and is ruled by ambitious and un- 
scrupulous chieftains whose delight is power. If there is 
to be one great empire more, before Christianity is pro- 
claimed, which shall absorb all other empires, now degen- 
erate and corrupt, let that be given to a people who know 
how to civilize after they have conquered. Let the sword 
rather than gold rule the world — enlightened statesmen 
rather than self-indulo;ent merchants. So Carthao-e falls, 
after three memorable struggles, extending over Carthage 

falls after a 

more than a century, during which she produced lougand 

. , *■ memorable 

the greatest general of antiquity, next to Cassar struggle. 
and Alexander. But not even Hannibal could restore 
the fortunes of his country, after having inflicted a bitter 
humiliation on his enemies. That city of merchants, like 
Tyre and Sidon, must drink of the cup of divine chastise- 
ment. Another type of civilization than that furnished by 
a " mistress of the sea," was needed for Europe, and an- 



38 The Conquests of the Romans, [Cn.vp. i. 

other rule for Asia and Africa. The Carthacrinians tano^ht 
the Romans, in their contest, liow to build ships of war 
and fight naval battles. As many as three hundred thou- 
sand men were eno;ao;ed in that memorable sea-fiorht of 
Ecnomus which opened to Regulus the way to Africa. 
Three times did the Romans lose their fleets by tempests, 
and yet they persevered in building new ones. The forti- 
tude of the Romans, in view of the brilliant successes of 
Hannibal, can never be sufficiently admired. The defeat 
at Cannae was a catastrophe, but the troops of Fabius, to 
whom w^as left the defense of the city, were not discour- 
aged, and with Scipio — religious, self-reliant, and lofty — 
Territories ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ victory tumcd. By the first Punic 
theMi'^of ^ war, which lasted twenty-two years, Rome gained 
Carthage. Sicily ; by the second, which opened twenty- 
three years after the first, and lasted seventeen years, she 
gained Sardinia, a foothold in Spain and Gaul, and a pre- 
ponderance throughout the. western regions of Europe and 
Africa ; by the third, which occurred fifty years after the 
second, and continued but four years, she gained all the 
provinces of Africa ruled by Carthage, and a great part of 
Spain. Nothing was allowed to remain of the African 
capital. The departing troops left behind complete deso- 
lation. The captives were sold as slaves, or put to death, 
and enough of spoil rewarded the victors to adorn a tri- 
umph only surpassed by that of Paulus on his return from 
the conquest of Greece. 

In the mean time, in the interval between the second 
and third Punic wars, occurred the Macedonian wars, which 
prepared the way for conquests in the East. The great 
Condition of Maccdouiau empire was split up into several 
doniauTm- nionarcliles among the generals of Alexander and 
^^' their successors. The Ptolemies reigned in Egypt ; 

the successors of Seleucus in Babylonia ; those of Antigonus 
in Syria and Asia Minor ; those of Lyslmachus in Thrace ; 
and of Cassander in Macedonia. It was the mission of 



Chap I.] Conquest of Crreece necessary for Civilization. 39 

Rome to subdue these monarchies, or rather her good for- 
tune, for she was destined to conquer the world. The 
principles which animated these wars cannot be defended 
on high moral grounds, any more than the conquest of 
India by England, or of Algeria by France. They were 
based entirely upon ambition — upon the passion for polit- 
ical aggrandizement. I confess I have no sympathy with 
them. Roman liberties were not jeopardized, nor were these 
monarchies dangerous rivals like Carthage. The subjuga- 
tion of Italy was in accordance with what we now Principles 
call the Monroe doctrine — to obtain the ascend- whicii led to 

.- , . the conquest 

ency on her own sou ; and even the conquest or of Greece. 
Sicily was no worse than the conquest of Ireland, or what 
would be the future absorption of Cuba and Jamaica within 
the limits of the United States. The Emperor Napoleon 
would probably justify both the humiliation of Carthage 
and the conquest of Greece and Asia and Egypt, and others 
would echo his voice in defense of aggressive domination, 
on some plea of pretended schemes of colonization, and the 
progress of civilization. But I do not believe in overturn- 
ing the immutable laws of moral obligation for any ques- 
tionable policy of expediency. I look upon the great civil 
wars of the Romans, which followed these conquests, in 
which so much blood was shed, and in which Marius and 
Sulla and Csesar and Pompey exhausted the resources of 
the state, and made an imperial regime necessary, only as 
the visitation of God in rebuke of such wicked ambition. 

The conquest over the Macedonians, however, by the 
Romans, was not an unmixed calamity, and was Greece reaps 
a righteous judgment on the Greeks. Nothing of^thrui? 
could be more unscrupulous than the career of ^'^ars^o'f^Aiex- 
Alexander and his generals. Again, the principle ^^^^^' 
which had animated the Oriental kino-s before him was in- 
defensible. We could go back still further, and show from 
the whole history of Asiatic conquests that their object was 
to aggrandize ambitious conquerors. The Persians, at first, 



40 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

were a brave and religious people, hardy and severe, and 
their conquest of older monarchies resulted in a certain 
good. But they became corrupt by prosperity and power, 
Degeneracy and fell a prey to the Greeks. The Greeks, at 
Greeks. that period, were the noblest race of the ancient 

world — immortal for genius and art. But power dazzled 
them, and little remained of that glorious spirit which 
was seen at Thermopylae and Marathon. The Greek as- 
cendency in Asia and Egypt was followed by the same 
luxury and extravagance and effeminacj'- that resulted 
from the rule of Persia. The Greeks had done great 
things, and contributed to the march of civihzation, but 
they had done their work, and their turn of humiliation 
must come. Their vast empire fell into the hands of the 
Romans, and the change was beneficial to humanity. They 
who had abused their trust were punished, and those were 
exalted above them who were as ^^et uncorrupted by 
those vices which are most fatal to nations. Tlie oreat 
Spoils of fruit of these wars were the treasures of Greece, 
into the' especially precious marbles, and other works of 

hands of the ^j^^ . , t-> i -t nr, i • i 

Romans. art. / 1 lie victory at r^yclna, b. c. loo, which 
gave the final superiorit}'- to the Roman legion over the 
Macedonian phalanx, was followed by the triumph of 
The triumph P^ulus hiuisclf — the grandest display ever seen 
of Pauius. ^^ Rome. First passed the spoils of Greece — 
statues and pictures — in two hundred and fifty wagons ; 
then the arms and accoutrements of the Macedonian sol- 
diers ; then three thousand men, each carrying a vase of 
silver coin ; then victims for sacrifice, with youths and 
maidens with garlands ; then men bearing vases of gold 
and precious stones ; then the royal chariot of the con- 
quered king laden with armor and trophies ; then his wife 
and children, and the fallen monarch on foot ; then the tri- 
umphal car of the victorious general, preceded by men bear- 
ino; four hundred crowns of oold — the sift of the Grecian 
cities — and followed by his two sons on horseback, and 



Chap. I.] Effects of the Conquest of Greece. 41 

the whole army in order. jThe sack of Corinth by Mum- 
mius was tlie finale of Grecian humiliation, soon followed 
by the total subjection of Macedonia, Greece, and Illjria, 
forming three provinces. Nine provinces now Grecian 
composed the territories of Rome, while the addelftrthe 
kings of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt were ^"^i'^'^®- 
vassals rather than allies, b. c. 133. 

The manners and habits of the imperial capital had un- 
dergone a gradual change since the close of the chan'reof 
second Punic War. During these fifty years, the momis at^"^*^ 
sack of so many Grecian cities, the fall of Car- ^°'^^®' 
thage, and the prestige of so many victories, had filled Rome 
with pride and luxury. In vain did M. Fortius Cato, the 
most remarkable man who adorned this deo;enerate asce, 
lift up his voice against increasing corruption. In vain 
were his strino;ent measures as censor. In vain did he 
strike senators from the list, and make an onslauo-ht on the 
abuses of his day. In vain were his eloquence, his simple 
manners, his rustic garb, and his patriotic warnings. That 
hard, narrow, self-sufficient, arbitrary, worldly-wise old 
statesman, whose many virtues redeemed his defects, and 
whose splendid abilities were the glory of his countrymen, 
could not restore the simplicities of former times. Reforms of 
<^ An age of " progress " had set in, of Grecian c'ensor. 
arts and culture, of material \vealth, of sumptuous ban- 
quets, of splendid palaces, of rich temples, of theatrical 
shows, of circus games, of female gallantries, of effeminated 
manners — all the usual accompaniments of civilization, 
when it is most proud of its triumphs ; and there was no 
resisting its march — to the eye of many a great improve- 
ment ; to the eye of honest old Cato, the deseen- Great degen 
sus averni. Wealth had become a great power; ducedbythe 
senatorial families grew immensely rich ; the wars. 
divisions of society widened ; slavery was enormouslv in- 
creased, while the rural population lost independence and 
influence. 



42 TJie Conquests of the Romans, [Chap. I. 

Then took place the memorable struggles of Rome, not 
merely with foreign enemies, but against herself. Factions 
and parties convulsed the city ; civil war wasted the na- 
tional resources. 

It was in that period of civic strife, when factions and 
parties struggled for ascendency — w^hen the Gracchi were 
both reformers and demagogues, patriots and disorganizers, 
heroes and martyrs — when fortunate generals aimed at 
Wars with suprcme power, and sought to overturn the lib- 
and T^-" crtics of their country, that Rome was seriously 
tones. threatened by the barbarians. Both Celts and 

Teutones, from Gaul and Germany, formed a general union 
for the invasion of Italy. They had successively defeated 
five consular armies, in which one hundred and twenty 
thousand men were slain. They rolled on like a devastat- 
ino; storm — some three hundred thousand warriors from 
unconquered countries beyond the Alps. They were met 
by Marias the hero of the African war, who had added 
Numidia, to the empire — now old, fierce, and cruel, a 
Success of plebeian who had arisen by force of military gen- 
ronsba'ck^° ius — and the Gaulish hordes were annlhlhited 
nirthSa^ o" the Rhouc and tlie Po. The Romans at first 
emigration, ylewcd thosc luilf-uaked warriors — so full of 
strength and courage, so confident of victory, so reckless of 
life, so impetuous and savage — with terror and awe. But 
their time had not yet come. Numbers were of no avail 
against science, when science w^as itself directed by genius 
and sustained by enthusiasm. The result of the decisive 
battles of Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae was to roll back the 
tide of northern immigration for three hundred years, and 
to prepare the way for the conquests of Caesar in Gaul. 

Then followed that great insurrection of the old states of 
Italy against their im])erious mistress — their last struggle 
for independence, called the Social War, in which tlu-ee 
The Social hundred thousand of the young men of Italy fell, 
^"' and in which Sulla so much distinguished himself 



Chap. I.] Mithridatic Wars, 43 

as to be reoarded as the rival of Marius, who had ruled 
Rome since the slauo-hter of the Cimbrians and Teutones. 
Sulla, who had served under Marius in Africa, Rise of 
dissolute like Antony, but cultivated like Caesar ^""*' 
— a man full of ambition and genius, and belonging to 
one of tlie oldest and proudest patrician families, the Cor- 
nelian gens — was no m.ean rival of the old tyrant and 
demacTOo-ue, and he was sent acrainst Mithridates, the most 
powerful of all the Oriental kings. 

This Asiatic potentate had encouraged the insurgents in 
Italy, and was also at war with the Romans. Marius 
viewed with envy and hatred the preference shown to 
Sulla in the conduct of the Mithridatic War, and succeeded, 
by his intrigues and influence with the people, in causing 
Sulla to be superseded, and himself to be appointed in his 
place. 

Hence that dreadful civil contest between these two gen- 
erals, in which Rome was alternately at the mercy qj^ji ^^rs 
of both, and in which the most horrible butcher- Marius^aud 
ies took place that had ever befallen the city ■; — a ^""'^" 
reign of terror, a burst of savage passion, especially on 
the part of Marius, who had lately abandoned himself to 
wine and riotous living. He died b. c. 86, victor in the 
contest, in his seventh consulate, worn out by labor and 
dissolute habits, nearly seventy years of age. 

His opportune death relieved Rome of a tyrannical rule, 
and opened the way for the splendid achieve- peathof 
ments of Sulla in the East. A great warrior ^^^""^• 
had arisen in a quarter least expected. In the moun- 
tainous region along the north side of the Euxine, the 
kingdom of Pontus had grown from a principality to a 
kingdom, and Mithridates, ruling over Cappadocia, Paph- 
lagonia, and Phrygia, aspired for the sovereignty of the 
East. He was an accomplished and enlightened prince, 
and could speak twenty-five languages, hardy, adventur- 
ous, and bold, like an ancient Persian. By conquests and 



44 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. i. 

alliances he had made himself the most powerful sovereign 
in Asia. 

Availino; himself of the disturbance ^rowincr out of the 
Social War, he fomented a rebellion of the prov- 

Mithridates. . n k ' ni' ' ^ ~rt' ^ • i 

mces ot Asia Mnior, seized iiithynia, and en- 
courao-ed Atliens to shake off the Roman yoke. Most 
of the Greek communities joined the Athenian insurrec- 
tion, and Asia rallied around the man who hoped to cope 
successfully with Rome herself. 

At this juncture, Sulla was sent into Greece with fifty 
Conquests thousaud mcu. Athens fell before his conquer- 
Greece. iug legious, B. c. 88, and the lieutenants of Mith- 

ridates retreated before the Romans with one hundred 
thousand foot and ten thousand horse, and one hundred 
armed chariots. On the plains of Chseronea, where Gre- 
cian liberties had been overthrown by Philip of Macedon, 
two hundred and fifty years before, a desperate conflict 
took place, and the Pontic army was signally defeated. 
Shortly after, Sulla gained another great victory over the 
generals of the King of Pontus, and compelled him to accept 
peace, the terms of which he himself dictated, after exact- 
ing heavy contributions from the cities of Greece and Asia 
Minor. 

The civil war between Sulla and the chiefs of the pop- 
ular faction that had been created by Marius, which 
ended in his complete ascendency in Italy, stopped for a 
Death of while the Roman conquests in the East. Sulla, 
^"^'*" having undone the popular measures of the last 

half century, and reigned supreme over all fictions as dicta- 
tor, died 13. c. 78, after a most successful career, and left his 
mantle to the most enterprising of his lieutenants, Cnaeus 
Pompey, who was destined to complete the Mitliridatic 
war. 

If Sulla had not been so inordinately fond of pleasure 
Character of ''^^^ luxurious self-iudulgence, he might have 
^^^' seized the sceptre of universal dominion, and 



Chap. I.] Pompey and Ccesar. 45 

have made himself undisputed master of the empire. He 
was a man of extraordinary genius, fond of literature, and 
a great diplomatist. But he was not preeminently ambi- 
tious like CaBsar, and was diverted by the fascinations of 
elegant leisure ; nor was he naturally cruel, though his pas- 
sions, when aroused, were fierce and vindictive. He lived 
in an age of exceeding corruption, when it was evident 
to contemplative minds that Roman liberties could not be 
much longer preserved. He had, for a time, restored the 
ascendency of the senatorial families, but faction was at 
work among the unprincipled chiefs of the republic. 

On the death of the great dictator, Mithridates broke 
the peace he had concluded, and marched into lucuHus 
Bithynia, which had been, left by will to the Ro- ^liSisr 
man people by Nicomedes, with the hope of its ^^i*^^"*^**®^- 
reconquest. He had an army of one hundred and twenty 
thousand foot and fifteen thousand horse. Lucullus, with 
thirty thousand foot and one thousand horse, advanced 
against him, and the vast forces of Mithridates were de- 
feated, and the king was driven into Armenia, and sought 
the aid of Tigranes, his son-in-laW, king of that power- 
ful country. He, too, was subdued by the Roman legions, 
and all the nations from the Halys to the Euphrates ac- 
knowledged the dominion of Rome. 

Still, Mithridates was not subdued, and Pompey, who 
had annihilated the Mediterranean pirates, was Rising great- 
deemed the only person fit to finish the Mithri- Pompey. 
datic war. His successes had been more brilliant than even 
those of Sulla, or Lucullus, or Metellus. He was made Dic- 
tator of the East, with greater powers than had ever before 
been intrusted to a Roman general. He had success equal 
to his fame ; drove Mithridates across the Caucasus ; re- 
duced Pontus, and took possession of Syria, which had 
been subject to Tigranes. The defeated King of Pontus, 
who had sought to unite all the barbarous tribes of Eastern 
Europe against Rome, destroyed himself. Pompey, after 



46 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap, l 

seven years' continued successes, returned to Italy to claim 
his triumph, having subdued the East, and added the old 
monarchy of the Seleucidae to the dominion of Rome, 
B. c. 61. 

But while Pompey was pursuing his victories over the 
The early ca- effeminate people of Asia, a still more brilliant 

reer of Julius , 

Caesar. Career in the West marked the rising fortunes of 

Julius Cassar. I need not dwell on the steps by which he 
arose to become the formidable rival of the conqueror of 
the East. He bears the most august name of antiquity. 
A patrician by birth, a demagogue in liis principles, popular 
in his manners, unscrupulous in his means, he successively 
passed through the various great offices of state, which he 
discharged with prodigious talent. As leader of the old 
popular party of Marius, he sought the humihation of the 
Senate, while his ambition led him to favor every enter- 
prise which promised to advance his own interests. Leav- 
ing the province of Spain, after his praetorship, before 
Pompey's return to Italy, liis great career of conquest 
commenced. He first availed himself of some disturbances 
in Lusitania to declare war against its gallant people, over- 
ran their country, and then turned his arms against the 
His Tic- Gallicians. In two years he had obtained spoils 

tones in i a^ • i • i i 

Spain. more than suihcient to pay his enormous debts, 

the result of his prodigality, by which, however, he won 
the hearts of the thoughtless citizens, and paved the way 
for honor. Conqueror of Spain, and idol of the people, he 
returned to Rome, b. c. 60, when Pompey was quarreling 
with the Senate, formed an alliance w^ith him and Crassus, 
and by their aid was elected consul. His measures in 
that high office all tended to secure his popularity with the 
people, and supported by Pompey and Crassus, he tri- 
umphed over the Senate. He then secured the govern- 
Cffisarscnt Hicnt of Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum, with two 
into Gaul. Jegious, for the extraordinary term of five years. 
The Senate added the province of Transalpine Gaul, then 



Chap. I.] Ccesar in Gaul. 41 

threatened by the Allobrogians, Suevi, Helvetians, and 
other barbaric tribes, with the intention of confining him 
to a dangerous and uncertain field of warfare. 

That field, however, established his military fame, and 
paved the way for his subsequent usurpations. His great 
The conquests of G^sar in Western Europe are geuius. 
unique in the history of war, and furnish no parallel. Other 
conquests may have been equally brilliant and more impos- 
ing, but none were ever more difl[icult and arduous, requir- 
ing greater perseverance, energ^^, promptness, and fertility 
of resources. The splendid successes of Lucullus and 
Pompey in Asia resembled those of Alexander. We see 
military discipline and bravery triumphing over the force 
of multitudes, and a few thousand men routino; vast armies 
of enervated or undisciplined mercenaries. Such were the 
conquests of the English in India. The}^ make ^jg ^i^cyi. 
a great impression, but the fortunes of an empire conquest of 
are decided by a single battle. It was not so with ^^"'" 
the conflicts of Caesar in Gaul. He had to fio-ht with sue- 
cessive waves of barbarians, inured to dano-er, adventurous 
and hardy, holding life in little estimation, willing to die in 
battle, intrepid in soul, and bent on ultimate victory. He 
had to fight in hostile territories, unacquainted with the face 
of the country, at a great distance from the base of his 
supplies, exposed to perpetual perils, and surrounded with 
unknown difficulties. And these were appreciated by his 
warlike countrymen, who gave him the credit he deserved. 
The ten years he spent in Gaul were the years of his truest 
glory, and the most momentous in their consequences on 
the future civilization of the world, since it was not worn- 
out monarchies he added to the empire, but a new terri- 
tory, inhabited by brave and simple races, who were to 
learn the arts and laws and literature of Rome, Results of 
and supply the government with powerful aid wars. 
in the decline of its strength. It was the conquered 
barbarians who, henceforth, were to furnish Rome with 



48 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. i. 

soldiers, and even scholars and statesmen and generals. 
Amono' them the old civilization was to take root, aniono; 
them new states were to arise on which the Romans could 
Impress their own remarkable characteristics. It was the 
western provinces of the empire that alone were vital 
with energy and strength, and which were destined to 
perpetuate the spirit of Roman institutions. The east- 
ern provinces never lost the impress of the Greek mind 
and manners. They remained Greek even when subdued 
by the imperial legions. Syria, Asia Minor, Eg3'pt, were 
filled with Grecian cities, and Asiatic customs were modi- 
fied by Grecian civilization. The West was purely Ro- 
Gauibe- man, and the Latin lano;uao;e, laws, and arts 

comes Latia- . , . t r» i p i ^ ^ 

ized. were contmued, ni a modiried form, through the 

whole period of the Middle Ages. Even Christianity had 
a difterent influence in the West from what it had in the 
East. In other words, the West was completely Latinized, 
while the East remained Grecian. Though the East was 
governed by Roman proconsuls, they could not change 
the Graeco-Asiatic character of its institutions and man- 
ners ; but the barbarians were willino; to learn new lessons 
from their Roman masters. 

It would require a volume to describe the various cam- 
Greatness paigus of Cassar in Gaul, in which a million of 
of Caesar. people wcre destroyed. But I only aim to show 
results. Most people are familiar with the marvelous gen- 
eralship and enterprises of the Roman conqueror — the 
conquest and reconquest of the brave barbarians, most of 
whom were Celts ; the uprising of Germanic tribes as 
well, and their fearful slaughter near Coblentz ; the bloody 
battles, the fearful massacres, the unscrupulous cruelties 
which he directed ; the formidable insurrection organized 
by Vercingetorix ; the spirit he infused into his army ; 
the incessant hardships of the soldiers, crossing rivers, 
mountains, and valleys, marching with their heavy bur- 
dens — fighting amid every, disadvantage, until all the 



Chap. I.] Coesar and Pomjpey. 49 

countries north of the Alps and west of the Rhine ac- 
knowledged his sway — all these things are narrated by 
Cgesar himself with matchless force and simplicity of lan- 
guage. 

Cgesar now probably aspired to the sovereignty of the 
empire, as Napoleon did after the conquest of Rivalry be- 

i ' i _ ^ ^ tween Caesar 

Italy- But he had a great rival in Pompey, andPompey. 
who had remained chiefly at Rome, during his Gaulish 
campaigns, virtually dictator, certainly the strongest citi- 
zen. And Pompey had also his ambitious schemes. One 
was the conqueror of the East ; the other of the West. 
One leaned to the aristocratic party, the other to the pop- 
ular. Pompey was proud, pompous, and self-suflicient. 
Csesar was politic, patient, and intriguing. Both had an 
inordinate ambition, and both were unscrupulous. Pom- 
pey had more prestige, Cassar more genius. Pompey 
was a greater tactician, Caesar a greater strategist. The 
Senate rallied around the former, the people around the 
latter. Cicero distrusted both, and flattered each by turns, 
but inclined to the side of Pompey, as belonging to the 
aristocratic party. 

Between such ambitious rivals coalition for any length 
of time could not continue. Dissensions arose between 
them, and then war. The contest was decided Battle of 
at Pharsalia. On the 6th of June, b. C. 48, i?i^^^«^ii=^- 
" Greek met Greek," yet with forces by no means great 
on either side. Pompey had only forty thousand, and 
Caesar less, but they were veterans, and the victory was 
complete. Pompey fled to Egypt, without evincing his 
former greatness, paralyzed, broken, and without hope. 
There he miserably died, by the assassin's dag- ^^^^^^ ^^ 
ger, at the age of sixty, and the way was now ^^^P^y- 
prepared for the absolute rule of Caesar. 

But the party of Pompey rallied, connected with which 
were some of the noblest names of Rome. The battle of 
Thapsus proved as disastrous to Cato as Pharsalia did to 

4 



50 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

Pompey. Csesar was uniformly victorious, not merely over 
the party which had sustained Pompey, hut in Asia, Af- 
rica, and Spain, which were in revolt. His presence was 
everywhere required, and wherever he appeared his pres- 
Dictatorship 6"^^^ was cuough. Hc was uow dictator for ten 
of Caesar. years. He had overturned the constitution of 
his country. He was virtually the supreme ruler of the 
world. In the brief period which passed from his last 
triumphs to his death, he was occupied in legislative la- 
bors, in settling military colonies, in restoring the wasted 
population of Italy, in improving the city, in reforming 
the calendar, and other internal improvements, evincing 
an enlarged and liberal mind. 

But the nobles hated him, and had cause, in spite of his 
abilities, his affability, magnanimity, and forbearance. He 
had usurped unlimited authority, and was too strong to be 
Death of rcmovcd except by assassination. I need not 
character/" dwcll ou the couspiracy under the leadership of 
Brutus, and his tragic end in the senate-house, where he 
fell, pierced by twenty-two wounds, at the base of Pom- 
pey's statue, the greatest man in Roman history — great 
as an orator, a writer, a general, and a statesman ; a man 
without vanity, devoted to business, unseduced by pleasure, 
unscrupulous of means to eflPect an end ; profligate, but not 
more so than his times ; ambitious of power, but to rule, 
when power was once secured, for the benefit of liis coun- 
try, like many other despots immortal on a bloody cata- 
logue. After his passage of the Rubicon his career can 
only be compared with that of Napoleon. 

But Roman territories were not much enlarged by 
Character of Cassar after the conquest of Celtic Europe. His 
wars. later wars were either against rivals or to settle 

distracted provinces. Nor were they increased in the civil 
wars which succeeded his death, between the various as- 
pirants for the imperial power and those who made one 
more stand for the old constitution. At the fatal battle of 



Chap. I.] Ustahlishment of Imperial Power. 51 

Philippi, when the hopes of Roman patriots vanished for- 
ever, double the number of soldiers were engaged on both 
sides than at Pharsalia, but fortune had left the senatorial 
party, of which Brutus was the avenger and the victim. 

Civil war was carried on most vigorously after the death 
of Julius. But it was now plainly a matter be- civiiwars 
tween rival generals and statesmen for supreme jeatVof 
command. The chief contest was between Octa- ^*^^^' 
vian and Antony, the former young, artful, self-controlled, 
and with transcendent abilities as a statesman ; the latter 
bold, impetuous, luxurious, and the ablest of all Caesar's 
lieutenants as a general. Had he not yielded to the fascina- 
tions of Cleopatra, he would probably have been the master 
of the world. But the sea-fight of Actium, one of the great 
decisive battles of history, gave the empire of the world 
to Octavian b. c. 31, and two vears after the victor cele- 
brated three magnificent triumphs, after the ex- Ascendency 
ample of his uncle, for Dahnatia, Actium, and ^^ ocuvian. 
Egypt. The kingdom of the Ptolemies passed under the 
rule of Cffisar. The Temple of Janus was shut, for the 
first time for more than two hundred years ; and the im- 
perial power was peaceably established over the civilized 
world. 

The friends of liberty may justly mourn over the fall 
of republican Rome, and the centralization of all power 
in the hands of Augustus. But it was a calamity which 
could not be averted, and was a revolution which was 
in accordance with the necessities of the times. Necessity for 
Fifty years' civil war taught the Romans the hope- ^^^ empire. 
lessness of the struggle to maintain their old institutions 
so long as the people were corrupt, and fortunate generals 
would sacrifice the public welfare to their ambition. Order 
was better than anarchy, even though a despot reigned 
supreme. When men are worse than governments, they 
must submit to the despotism of tyrants. It is idle to 
dream of liberty with a substratum of folly and vice. The 



52 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

strongest man will rule, but whether he rule wisely or 
unwisely, there is no remedy. Providence gave the world 
to the Romans, after continual and protracted wars for 
seven hundred years ; and when the people who had con- 
quered the world by their energy, prudence, and perse- 
verance, were no longer capable of governing themselves, 
then the state fell into the possession of a single man. 

Under the emperors, the whole policy of the govern- 
changein meut was chaugcd. They no longer thought of 

the imperial o -t t i n . . -, 

policy. turtner aggrandizement, but ot retaining the 

conquests which were already made. And if they occa- 
sionally embarked in new wars, those wars were of neces- 
sity rather than of ambition, were defensive rather than 
aggressive. New provinces were from time to time added, 
but in consequence of wars which were waged in defense 
of the empire. The conquest of Britain and Judea was 
completed, and various conflicts took place with the Ger- 
manic nations, who, in the reign of Antoninus, formed 
a general union for the invasion of the Roman world. 
These barbarians were the future aggressors on the peace 
of the empire, until it fell into their hands. The empire 
of Augustus may be said to have reached the utmost limits 
it ever permanently retained, extending from the Rhine 
and the Danube to the Euphrates and Mount Atlas, em- 
bracing a population variously estimated from one hun- 
dred to one hundred and thirty millions. 

When Augustus became the sovereign ruler of this vast 
Perfection of empire, military art had reached the highest per- 
mUitaryart. fg^tion it cvcr attained among any of the na- 
tions of antiquity. It required centuries to perfect this 
science, if science it may be called, and the Romans 
doubtless borrowed from the people whom they subdued. 
They learned to resist the impetuous assaults of semi-bar- 
barous warriors, the elephants of the East, and the pha- 
lanx of the Greeks. Military discipline was carried to the 
severest extent by Marius, Pompey, and Caesar. 



Chap. I.] Military Genius. 53 

The Roman soldier was trained to march twenty miles 
a day, under a burden of eicrhty pounds ; yea, Tjie spirit 

•^ ' o ./ X "^01 the Ro- 

to swim rivers, to climb mountains, to penetrate man soldier. 

forests, and to encounter every kind of danger. He was 
taught that his destiny was to die in battle. He ex- 
pected death. He was ready to die. Death was his duty, 
and his glory. He enlisted in the armies with little hope 
of revisiting his home. He crossed seas and deserts and 
forests with the idea of spending his life in the service of 
his country. His pay was only a denarius daily, equal to 
about sixteen cents of our money. Marriage was discour- 
aged or forbidden. He belonored to the state, and the 
state was exacting and hard. He was reduced to abject 
obedience, yet he held in his hand the destinies of the 
empire. And however insignificant was the legionary as 
a man, he gained importance from the great body with 
which he was identified. He was the servant and the 
master of the state. He had an intense esprit de corps. 
He was bound up in the glory of his legion. Both religion 
and honor bound him to his standards. The golden eagle 
which glittered in his front was the object of his fondest 
devotion. Nor was it possible to escape the penalty of 
cowardice or treachery, or disobedience. He could be 
chastised with blows by his centurion ; his general could 
doom him to death. Never was the severity of military 
discipline relaxed. Military exercises were incessant, in 
winter as in summer. In the midst of peace the Roman 
troops were familiarized with the practice of war. 

It was the spirit which animated the Roman legions, and 
the discipline to which they were inured, which Military ge- 
gave them their irresistible strength. When we Romans, 
remember that they had not our fire-arms, we are sur- 
prised at their efficiency, especially in taking strongly forti- 
fied cities. Jerusalem was defended by a triple wall, and 
the most elaborate fortifications, and twenty-four thousand 
soldiers, beside the aid received from the citizens ; and yet 



54 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

it fell in little more than four months before an army of 
eighty thousand under Titus. How great the science to 
reduce a place of such strength, in so short a time, with- 
out the aid of other artillery than the ancient catapult and 
battering-ram ! Whether the military science of the Ro- 
mans was superior or inferior to our own, no one can 
question that it was carried to utmost perfection before the 
invention of gunpowder. We are only superior in the 
application of this great invention, especially in artillery. 
There can be no doubt that a Roman army was superior 
to a feudal army in the brightest days of chivalry. The 
world has produced no generals superior to Cassar, Pom- 
pey, Sulla, and Marius. No armies ever won greater 
victories over superior numbers than the Roman, and no 
armies of their size, ever retained in submission so great 
an empire, and for so long a time. At no period in the 
history of the empire were the armies so large as those 
sustained by France in time of peace. Two hundred 
thousand legionaries, and as many more auxiliaries, con- 
trolled diverse nations and powerful monarchies. The 
single province of Syria once boasted of a military force 
Thepei-fec- equal in the number of soldiers to that wielded 
taryart. by Tibcrius. Twenty-five legions made the 
conquest of the world, and retained that conquest for five 
hundred years. Tlie self-sustained energy of Cassar in 
Gaul puts to the blush the efforts of all modern generals, 
except Frederic II., Marlborough, Napoleon, WelHngton, 
Grant, Sherman, and a few other great geniuses which 
a warlike age developed ; nor is there a better text-book 
on the art of war than that furnished by Caesar himself in 
his Commentaries. And the ereat victories of the Romans 
over barbarians, over Gauls, over Carthaginians, over 
Greeks, over Syrians, over Persians, were not the result 
of a short-lived enthusiasm, like those of Attila and Tam- 
erlane, but extended over a thousand years. The Ro- 
mans were essentially military in all their tastes and habits. 



Chap. I.] Tlie Roman Legion. 55 

Luxurious senators and nobles showed the greatest cour- 
age and skill in the most difficult campaigns. Antony, 
Caesar, Pompey, and Lucullus were, at home, enervated 
and luxurious, but, at the head of the legions, were capa- 
ble of any privation and fatigue. The Roman legion was 
a most perfect organization, a great mechanical force, and 
could sustain furious attacks after vigor, patriotism, and 
public spirit had fled. For three hundred years a vast 
empire was sustained by mechanism alone. 

The legion is coeval with the foundation of Rome, 
but the number of the troops of which it was r^^^ Roman 
composed varied at different periods. It rarely ^^^lon. 
exceeded six thousand men. Gibbon estimates the number 
at six thousand eight hundred and twenty-six men. For 
many centuries it was composed exclusively of Roman cit- 
izens. Up to the year B. C. 107, no one was permitted 
to serve among the regular troops except those who were 
regarded as possessing a strong personal interest in the 
stability of the republic. Marius admitted all orders of 
citizens ; and after the close of the Social War, B. C. 87, 
the whole free population of Italy w^as allowed to serve 
in the regular army. Claudius incorporated with j^g compo- 
the legion the vanquished Goths, and after him ^^*^°°" 
the barbarians filled up the ranks, on account of the degen- 
eracy of the times. But during the period when the Ro- 
mans were conquering the world every citizen was trained 
to arms, and was liable to be called upon to serve in the. 
armies. In the early age of the republic, the legion was 
disbanded as soon as the special service was performed, 
and was in all essential respects a militia. For three cen- 
turies, we have no record of a Roman armv winterino; in 
the field ; but when Southern Italy became the seat of 
war, and especially when Rome was menaced by foreign 
enemies, and still more when a protracted foreign service 
became inevitable, the same soldiers remained in activity 
for several years. Gradually the distinction between the 



68 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

soldier and the civilian was entirely obliterated. The dis- 
tant wars of the republic, like the prolonged operations of 
CaBsar in Gaul, and the civil contests, made a standing 
army a necessity. During the civil wars between Caesar 
and Pompey, the legions were forty in number ; under 
Augustus but twenty-five. Alexander Severus increased 
The infantry them to thirty-two. Tlus was the standing force 
of^theT-^*^ of the empire, from one hundred and fifty to two 
^^^^\ hundred and forty thousand men, and this was 

stationed in the various provinces. The main dependence 
of the legion was on the infantry, which wore heavy armor 
consistino^ of helmet, breastplate, frreaves on the 

Its armor. iiii tip n n 

legs, and buckler on the leit arm tour leet m 
leno;th and two and a half in width. The helmet was orio;- 
inally made of leather or skin, strengthened and adorned 
by bronze or gold, and surmounted by a crest which was 
often of horse-hair, and so made as to give an imposing look. 
The crest not only served for ornament but to distinguish 
the different centurions. The breastplate or cuirass was 
generally made of metal, and sometimes was highly orna- 
mented. Chain-mail was also used. The greaves were 
of bronze or brass, with a lining of leather or felt, and 
reached above the knees. The shield, worn by the heavy- 
armed infantry, was not round, like that of the Greeks, 
but oval or oblong, adapted to the shape of the body, and 
was made of wood or wicker-work. The weapons were 

a lio-ht spear, a pilum or iavelin six feet lono;, 

Its weapons. ^. ^ ' -^ , . "^ i • i 

termmated by a steel pomt, and a sword with a 
double edge, adapted to striking or pushing. The legion 
was drawn up eight deep, and three feet intervened be- 
tween rank and file, which disposition gave great activity, 
and made it superior to the Macedonian phalanx, the 
strength of which depended on sixteen ranks of long 
pikes wedged together. The cavalry attached to each 

leo-ion were three hundred men, and they orior- 

The cavalry. . . . 

inally were selected from the leading men in the 



Chap. I.] The Organization of the Legion. 57 

state. They were mounted at the expense of the state, 
and formed a distinct order. The cavahy was divided 
into ten squadrons ; and to each legion was attached a 
train of ten mihtary engines of the largest size, and fifty- 
five of the smaller, — all of which discharcred stones and 
darts with great effect. This train corresponded with our 
artillery. Besides the armor and weapons of the legion- 
aries, they usually carried on their marches provisions for 
two weeks, and three or four stakes used in forming the 
palisade of the camp, beside various tools, — altogether a 
burden of sixty or eighty pounds per man. The general 
period of service for the infantry was twenty TermofmUi- 
years, after which the soldier received a dis- ^^''^s^ service, 
charge together with a bounty in money or land. 

The Roman legion, whether it was composed of four 
thousand men, as in the early ages of the repub- organization 
lie, or six thousand, as in the time of Augustus, o^theiegion. 
was divided into ten cohorts, and each cohort was com- 
posed of Hastati, Principes, Triarii, and Velites. The 
soldiers of the first line, called Hastati, consisted 

. The Hastati. 

01 youths m the bloom ot manhood, and were 
distributed into fifteen companies or maniples. Each 
company contained sixty privates, two centurions, and a 
standard-bearer. Two thirds were heavily armed, and 
bore the long shield, the remainder carried only a spear 
and light javelins. The second line, the Prin- ThePnnd- 

1 n • rt p ^^ ' p pes and Ve- 

cipes, was composed ot men in the rull vigor or utes. 
life, divided also into fifteen companies, all heavily armed, 
and distinguished by the splendor of their equipments. 
The third body, the Triarii, was also composed of tried 
veterans, in fifteen companies, the least trustworthy of 
which were placed in the rear. These formed three lines. 
The Velites were hght-armed troops, employed on out- 
post duty, and mingled with the horsemen. The Hastati 
were so called because they were armed with the hasta ; 
the Principes, for being placed so near to the front ; the 



58 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. L 

Triarii, from having been arrayed behind the first two hnes 
as a body of reserve, armed with the pllura, 

The Triarii. , . , -^^ ' i an • -, 

thicker and stronger than the Grecian lance, — 
four and a half feet long, of wood, with a barbed head of 
iron, — so that the whole length of the weapon was six 
feet nine inches. It was used either to throw or thrust 
with, and when it pierced the enemy's shield,^ the iron 
head was bent, and the spear, owing to the twist in the 
iron, still held to the shield.^ Each soldier carried two of 
these weapons.^ The Principes were in the front ranks of 

the phalanx, clad in complete defensive armor. 

The Pilarii. i ' i ' 

— men in the vio;or of streno-th. The Pilarii 
were in the rear, who threw the heavy pilum over the 
heads of their comrades, in order to break the enemy's 
line. In the time of the empire, when the legion was 
modified, the infantry wore cuirasses and helmets, and 
two swords ; namely, a long one and a dagger. The 
select infantry carried a long spear and a shield, the rest 
a pilum. Each man carried a saw, a basket, a mattock, 
a hatchet, a leather strap, a hook, a chain, and provisions 

for three days. The Equites wore helmets and 

The Equites. . ti i • p • i i i i 

cuu'asses, like the iniantry, with a broad sword 
at the right side, and in their hand a long pole. A buckler 
swung at the horse's flank. They were also furnished 
with a quiver containing three or four javelins. 

The artillery were used both for hurling missiles in 
Theartu- battle, and for the attack of fortresses. The 
^^^^' tormeiitum, which was an elastic instrument, 

discharged stones and darts, and w^as continued until the 
discovery of gunpowder. In besieging a city, the ram was 
employed for destroying the lower part of a wall, and the 
bahsta, which discharged stones, was used to overtlirow 
the battlements. The balista would project a stone weigh- 
ing from fifty to three hundred pounds. The aries^ or 
battering-ram, consisted of a large beam made of the 
1 Liv. viii. 8. 2 piut. Mar. 25. » Polyb. vi. 23. 



Chap. I.] Military Engines. 69 

trunk of a tree, frequently one hundred feet in length, 
to one end of which was fastened a mace of iron or bronze, 
which resembled in form the head of a ram, and was often 
suspended by ropes from a beam fixed transversely over 
it, so that the soldiers were relieved from supporting its 
w^eight, and were able to give it a rapid and forcible mo- 
tion backward and for\vard. And when this machine 
was further aided by placing a frame in which it was sus- 
pended upon wheels, and constructing over it a roof, so as 
to form a. testudo, which protected the besieging Theiestu- 
party from the assaults of the besieged, there ^°' 
was no tower so strong, no wall so thick, as to resist a 
long-continued attack. Its great length enabled the sol- 
diers to work across the ditch, and as many as one hundred 
men were often employed upon it. The Romans learned 
from the Greeks the art of buildino; this formidable enmne, 
which was used with great effect by Alexander, but with 
still greater by Vespasian in the siege of Jerusalem. It 
was first used by the Romans in the siege of Syracuse. 
The vinea w^as a sort of roof under which the soldiers 
protected themselves when they undermined walls. The 
helejJoUs, also used in the attack of cities, was xheUeie- 
a square tower furnished with all the means of ^°^^' 
assault. This also was a Greek invention, and that used by 
Demetrius at the siege of Rhodes, B. c. 306, was one hun- 
dred and thirty-five feet high and sixty-eight wide, divided 
into nine stories. Towers of this description were used 
at the siege of Jerusalem, ^ and were manned by two hun- 
dred men employed upon the catapults and rams. The 
turris, a tower of the same class, was used both 
by Greeks and Romans, and even by Asiatics. 
Mithridates used one at the siege of Cyzicus one hundred 
and fifty feet in height. This most formidable engine was 
generally made of beams of Avood covered on three sides 
with iron and sometimes with raw hides. They were 

1 Josephus, B. J., ii. 19. 



60 The Conquests of the Romans, [Chap, t 

higher than the walls and all the other fortifications of a 
besieged place, divided into stories pierced with windows. 
In and upon them were stationed archers and slingers, 
and in the lower story was a battering-ram. They also 
scaim<^-iad- carried scaling-ladders, so that when tlie wall 
^^^^- was cleared, these were placed against the walls. 

They were placed upon wheels, and brought as near the 
walls as possible. It w^as impossible to resist these power- 
ful engines, unless they were burned, or the ground under- 
mined upon which they stood, except by overturning them 
with stones or iron-shod beams hung from a mast on the 
wall, or by increasing the height of the wall, or the erection 
of temporary towers on the wall beside them. 

Thus there was no ancient fortification capable of with- 
standing a long siege when the besieged city was short 
of defenders or provisions. With equal forces an attack 
Theadvan- was generally a failure, for the defenders had al- 
feudera. ways a great advantage. But when the number 
of defenders was reduced, or when famine pressed, the skill 
and courage of the assailants would ultimately triumph. 
Some ancient cities made a most obstinate resistance, like 
Tarentum ; Carthage, which stood a siege of four years ; 
Numantia in Spain, and Jerusalem. When cities were 
Ordinary of Immense size, population, and resources, like 
ture. Rome when besieged by Alaric, it Avas easier to 

take them by cutting off all ingress and egress, so as to pro- 
duce famine. Tyre was only taken by Alexander by cut- 
ting off the harbor. Babylon could not have been taken by 
Cyrus by assault, since the walls were three hundred and 
thirty-seven feet high, according to Herodotus, and the ditch 
too wide for the use of batterino:-rams. He resorted to an 
expedient of which the blinded inhabitants of that doomed 
city never dreamed, which rendered their impregnable for- 
tifications useless. Nor would the Romans have probably 
prevailed against Jerusalem had not famine decimated an(3 
weakened the people. Fortified cities, though scarcely ever 



Chap, I.] The Officers of the Legion. 61 

impregnable, were yet more in use in ancient than mod- 
ern times, and greatly delayed the operations strength 
of advancing armies. And it was probably the teg'^eofTorl 
fortified camp of the Romans, which protected *''^''^^- 
an army against surprises and other misfortunes, which 
gave such efficacy to the legions. 

The chief officers of the legion were the tribunes, and 
originally there was one in each legion from the TheTrib- 
three tribes — the Ramnes, Luceres, and Titles. ^^^" 
In the time of Polybius the number in each legion was six. 
Their authority extended equally over the whole legion ; 
but, to prevent confusion, it was the custom for these mili- 
tary tribunes to divide themselves into three sections of two, 
and each pair undertook the routine duties for two months 
out of six. They nominated the centurions, and assigned 
to each the company to which he belonged. These trib- 
unes, at first, were chosen by the commander-in-chief, — 
by the kings and consuls ; but during the palmy days of 
the republic, when the patrician power was preeminent, 
they Avere elected by the people, that is, the citizens. 
Later they were named half by the Senate and half by the 
consuls. No one was eligible to this great office who had 
not served ten years in the infantry or five in the cav- 
alry. They were distinguished by their dress from the 
common soldier. Next in rank to the tribunes, who 
corresponded to the rank of brigadiers and colonels in 
our times, were the centurions, of whom there xheCentu- 
were sixty in each legion, — men who were "°°^' 
more remarkable for calmness and sagacity than for cour- 
age and daring valor; men who would keep their posts 
at all hazards. It was their duty to drill the soldiers, to 
inspect arms, clothing, and food, to visit the sentinels, and 
regulate the conduct of the men. They had the power 
of inflicting corporal punishment. They were chosen for 
merit solely, until the later ages of the empire, when their 
posts were bought, as in the English army. These centu- 



62 TJie Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

rions were of unequal rank, — those of the Triarii before 
those of the Principes, and those of the Principes before 
those of the Hastati. The first centurion of the first man- 
iple of the Triarii stood next in rank to the tribunes, and 
had a seat in the military councils, and his ofiice was very 
lucrative. To his charo-e was intrusted the eaole of the 
legion.^ As the centurion could rise from the ranks, and 
rose by regular gradation through the different maniples 
of the Hastati, Principes, and Triarii, there was great in- 
ducement held out to the soldiers. In the Roman leo-ion 
Gradation of '^ would seeui that tlicrc was a regular gradation 
ranks. ^^ rank, although there were but few distinct 

oflSces. But the gradation was not determined by length 
of service, but for merit alone, of which the tribunes were 
the sole judges. Hence the tribune of a Roman legion 
had more power than that of a modern colonel. As the 
tribunes named the centurions, so the centurions appointed 
their lieutenants, who were called sub-centurions. 

There was a change in the constitution and disposition of 
Change in ^hc Icgiou after the time of Marius, until tlie fall 
tkTn^of^k^' o^ t^^^ republic. The legions were thrown open 
gions. .J.Q j^gj^ Q^ ^jj grades ; they were all armed and 

equipped alike ; the lines were reduced to two, with a 
space between each cohort, of which there were five in 
each line ; the young soldiers were placed in the rear, and 
not the van ; the distinction between Hastati, Principes, 
and Triarii ceased ; the Velites disappeared, their work 
being done by the foreign mercenaries ; the cavalry ceased 
to be part of the legion, and became a distinct body ; and 
the military was completely severed from the rest of the 
state. Formerly no one could aspire to office who had not 
completed ten years of military service, but in the time of 
Cicero a man could pass through all the great dignities of 
the state with a very limited experience of military life. 
Cicero himself served but one campaign. 

1 Liv. XXV. 5; €<«&. B. C, vi. 6. 



Chap. I.] Changes in the Legion. 63 

Under the emperors, there were still other changes. 
The regular army consisted of legions and sup- changes un- 
plementa, — the latter being subdivided into the emperors. 
imperial guards and the auxiliary troops. 

The auxiliaries (Socii) consisted of troops from the 
states in alliance with Rome, or those compelled to furnish 
subsidies. The infantry of the allies was generally more 
numerous than that of the Romans, while the cavalry was 
three times as numerous. All the auxiliaries were paid 
by the state ; the infantry received the same pay as the 
Roman infantry, but the cavalry only two thirds of what 
was paid to the Roman cavalry. The common payofsoi- 
foot-soldier received in the time of Polybius three ^'^^^' 
and a half asses a day, equal to about six farthings ster- 
ling money ; the horseman three times as much. The 
praetorian cohorts received twice as much as the legion- 
aries. Julius Caesar allowed about six asses a day as the 
pay of the legionary, and under Augustus the daily pay 
was raised to ten asses — little more than four pence per 
da3^ Domitian raised the stipend still higher. The sol- 
dier, however, was fed and clothed by the government. 

The praetorian cohort was a select body of troops insti- 
tuted by Augustus to protect his person, and r^^^ Pr^to- 
consisted of ten cohorts, each of one thousand ^lan cohort. 
men, chosen from Italy. This number was increased by 
Vitellius to sixteen thousand, and they were assembled 
by Tiberius in a permanent camp, which was strongly for- 
tified. They had peculiar privileges, and when they had 
served sixteen years, received twenty thousand sesterces, 
or more than one hundred pounds sterling. Each praeto- 
rian had the rank of a centurion in the regular army. 
Like the body-guard of Louis XIV., they were all gentle- 
men, and formed gradually a great power, like the janis- 
saries at Constantinople, and frequently disposed of the 
purple itself. It would thus appear that the centurion 
only received twice the pay of the ordinary legionary. 



64 TJie Conquests of the Romans, [Chap. I. 

There was not therefore so much difference in rank be- 
tween a private and a captain as in our day. There were 
no aristocratic distinctions in the ancient world so marked 
as in the modern. 

Our notice of the Roman legion would be incomplete 
The Roman without allusiou to the camp in which the sol- 
oamp. jjgj. virtually lived. A Roman army never 

halted for a sino-le nio-ht without formino; a reoular in- 
trenchment capable of holding all the fighting men, the 
beasts of burden, and the baggage. When the army 
conld not retire, during the winter months, into some 
city, it was compelled to live in the camp. It was ar- 
ranged and fortified according to a uniform plan, so that 
every company and individual had a place assigned. We 
cannot tell when this practice of intrenchment began ; it 
was matured gradually, like all other things pertaining to 
the art of war. The system was probably brought to per- 
fection during the wars with Hannibal. Skill in the choice 
of ground, giving facilities for attack and defense, and for 
procuring water and other necessities, w^as of great account 
with the generals. An area of about five thousand square 
feet was allowed for a company of infantry, and ten 
thousand feet for a troop of thirty dragoons. The form 
of a camp was an exact square, the length of each side 
being two thousand and seventeen feet. There was a 
space between the ramparts and the tents of two hundred 
feet to facilitate the marching in and out of soldiers, and 
to guard the cattle and booty. The principal street was 
one hundred feet wide, and was called Principia. The 
defenses of the camp consisted of a ditch, the earth from 
which was thrown inwards, and strong palisades of wooden 
stakes upon the top of the earthwork so formed. The 
ditch was sometimes fifteen feet deep, and the vallum or 
rampart ten^feet in height. When the army encamped 
for the first time the tribunes administered an oath to each 
individual, including slaves, to the effect that they would 



Chap. I.] The Camp. — Line of March. 65 

steal nothing out of the camp. Every morning at day- 
break, the centurions and the eqnites presented Theguard- 
themselves before the tents of the tribunes, and the camp. 
the tribunes in hke manner presented themselves to the 
praetorian, to learn the orders of the consuls, which through 
the centurions were communicated to the soldiers. Four 
companies took charge of the principal street, to see that 
it was properly cleaned and watered. One company took 
charge of the tent of the tribune, a strong guard attended 
to tlie horses, and another of fifty men stood beside the 
tent of the general that he might be protected from open 
dano-er and secret treachery. The velites mounted euard 
the whole night and day along the whole extent of the 
vallum, and each gate w^as guarded by ten men. The 
equites were intrusted with the duty of acting as sentinels 
during the night, and most ingenious measures were adopted 
to secure their watchfulness and fidelity. The watchword 
for the night was given by the commander-in-chief. " On 
the first signal being giyen by the trumpet, the The break- 
tents were all struck and the baggage packed, camp. 
At the second signal, the baggage was placed upon the 
beasts of burden ; and at the third the whole armv began 
to move. Then the herald, standincr at the risht hand of 
the general, demands thrice if they are ready for war, to 
which they all respond with loud and repeated cheers that 
they are ready, and for the most part, being filled with 
martial ardor, anticipate the question, ' and raise their right 
hands on high with a shout.' " ^ 

Josephus gives an account of the line of march in which 
the army of Vespasian entered Galilee. " 1. The light- 
armed auxiliaries and bowmen, advancing to £ir,eof 
reconnoiter. 2. A detachment of Roman heavy- ^^^'^^*^- 
armed troops, horse and foot. 3. Ten men out of every 
century or company, carrying their own equipments and 
the measures of the camp. 4. The baggage of Vespasian 

1 Smith, Diet, of AnL, art. Castra. 
5 



QQ The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

and his legati guarded by a strong body of horse. 5. Ves- 
pasian himself, attended by his horse-guard and a body of 
spearmen. 6. The peculiar cavalry of the legion. 7. The 
artillery dragged by mules. 8. The legati, tribunes, and 
prsefects of cohorts, guarded by a body of picked soldiers. 
9. The standards, surrounding the eagle. 10. The trum- 
peters. 11. The main body of the infantry, six abreast, 
accompanied by a centurion, whose duty it was to see that 
the men kept their ranks. 12. The whole body of slaves 
attached to each legion, driving the mules and beasts of 
burden loaded with the bao-gao-e. 13. Behind all tlie le- 

OO C5 

gions followed the mercenaries. 14. The rear was brought 
up by a strong body of cavalry and infantry." ^ 

From what has come down to us of Roman military 
Excitements life, it appears to have been full of excitement, 
life. toil, danger, and hardship. The pecuniary re- 

wards of the soldier were small. He was paid in glory. 
No profession brought so much honor as the military. 
And from the undivided attention of a great people to 
this profession, it was carried to all the perfection which 
could be attained until the great invention of gunpowder 
chanored the art of war. It was not the number of men 
employed in the armies which particularly arrests atten- 
tion, but the spirit and genius which animated them. The 
Romans loved war, but so reduced it to a science that it 
required comparatively small armies to conquer the world. 
Sulla defeated Mithridates with only thirty thousand men, 
Sinaiinessof whilc liis adversary marshaled against him over 
armies. ouc huudrcd tliousaud ; and Caesar had only ten 

legions to effect the conquest of Gaul, and none of these 
were of Italian origin. At the great decisive battle of 
Pharsalia, when most of the available forces of the empire 
were employed, on one side or the other, Pompey com- 
manded a legionary army of forty-five thousand men ; and 
the cavalry amounted to seven thousand more, but among 

J Josephus, B. J., iii. 6, § 2. 



Chap. I.] Consolidation of Power, 67 

them were included the flower of the Roman nobiHtj. 
The auxihary force has not been computed, although it 
was probably numerous. Caesar had under him only 
twenty-two thousand of legionaries and one thousand cav- 
alry. But every man in both armies was prepared to con- 
quer or die. The forces were posted on the open plain, 
and the battle was really a hand-to-hand encounter, in 
which the soldiers, after hurling their lances, fought with 
their swords chiefly. And when the cavalry of Pompey 
rushed upon the legionaries of Caesar, no blows were 
wasted on the mailed panoply of the mounted Romans, 
but were aimed at the face alone, as that alone was un- 
protected. The battle was decided bv the cool- Howbat- 
ness, bravery, and discipline of veterans, inspired decided. 
by the genius of the greatest general of antiquity. Less 
than one hundred thousand men, in all probability, were 
engaged in one of the most memorable conflicts which the 
world has seen. 

Thus it was, by unparalleled heroism in war, and a uni- 
form policy in government, that Rome became Gradual or- 
the mistress of the world. The Roman conquests STry""""^ 
have never been surpassed, for they were retained ^^^^^* 
until the empire fell. I wish that I could have dwelt on 
these conquests more in detail, and presented more fully 
the brilliant achievements of individuals. It took nearly 
two hundred years, after the expulsion of the kings, to 
regain supremacy over the neighboring people, and an- 
other century to conquer Italy. The Romans did not 
contend with regular armies until they were brought in 
conflict with the king of Epirus and the phalanx of the 
Greeks, " which improved their military tactics, and intro- 
duced between the combatants those mutual regards of 
civilized nations which teach men to honor their adversa- 
ries, to spare the vanquished, and to lay aside wrath when 
the struggle is ended." In the fifth century of her exist- 
ence, the republic appears in peculiar splendor. MiKtary 



68 The Conquests of the Homans. [Chap. I. 

chieftains do not transcend their trusts ; the aristocracy 
are equally distinguished for exploits and virtues ; the 
magistrates maintain simplicity of manners and protect the 
ricrhts of the citizens ; the citizens are self-sacrificina; and 
ever ready to obey the call to arms, laying aside great 
commands and retiring poor to private stations. Marcus 
Valerius Corvus, after filling twenty-one carule offices, 
Magnanimity rctums to agricultural life ; Marcus Curius Den- 

of the early . pi • i m r> i 

generals. tatus rctauis uo part ot the rich spoils or the 
Sabines ; Fabricius rejects the gold of the Samnites and 
the presents of Pyrrhus. The most trustworthy are ele- 
vated to places of dignity and power. Senators mingle in 
the ranks of the legions, and eighty of them die on the 
field of Canna3. Discipline is enforced to cruelty, and 
Manlius Torquatus punishes with death a disobedient son. 
Soldiers who desert the field are decimated or branded with 
dishonor. Faith is kept even with enemies, and Regulus 
returns a voluntary prisoner to his deadly enemies. 

After the consolidation of Roman power in Italy, it 
took one hundred and fifty years more only to complete 
the conquest of the world — of Northern Africa, Spain, 
Gaul, Illyria, Epirus, Greece, Macedonia, Asia Minor, 
Pontus, Syria, Egypt, Bithynia, Cappadocia, Pergamns, 
and the islands of the Mediterranean. The conquest of 
Results of Carthage left Rome without a rival in the Medi- 
wars. terranean, and promoted intercourse with the 

Greeks. The Illyrian wars opened to the Romans the 
road to Greece and Asia, and destroyed the pirates of the 
Adriatic. The invasion of Cisalpine Gaul, now that part 
of Italy which is north of the Apennines, protected Italy 
from the invasion of barbarians. The Macedonian War 
against Philip put Greece under the protection of Rome, 
and that against Antiochus laid Syria at her mercy ; and 
when these kingdoms were reduced to provinces, the way 
was opened to further conquests in the East, and the Med- 
iterranean became a Roman lake. 



Chap. I.] Results of Universal Empire, 69 

But these conquests introduce luxury, wealth, pride, 
and avarice, with arts, refinements, and litera- Effect of ro- 
ture. These degrade while they elevate. Civil- qu^stTon 
ization becomes the alternate triumph of good ^°'^^'^^^- 
and evil influences, and a doubtful boon. Successful war 
creates great generals, and founds great families, increases 
slavery, and promotes inequalities. Demagogues arise who 
seduce and deceive the people, and they enroll themselves 
under the standards of their idols. Rome is governed by 
an oligarchy of mihtary chieftains, and has become more 
aristocratic and more democratic at the same time. The 
people gain rights, only to yield to the supremacy of dem- 
agogues. The Senate is humbled, but remains the ascend- 
ant power, for generals compose it, and those who have 
held great offices. Meanwhile the great generals struggle 
for supremacy. Civil wars follow in the train of foreign 
conquests. Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Julius, Antony, Au- 
gustus, sacrifice the state to their ambition. Good men 
lament, and protest, and hide themselves. Cato, Degeneracy 
Cicero, Brutus, speak in vain. Degenerate undermiues 
morals keep pace with civil contests. Rome rev- power. 
els in the spoils of all kingdoms and countries, is intoxi- 
cated with power, becomes cruel and tyrannical, and, after 
yielding up the lives of citizens to fortunate generals, 
yields at last her liberties, and imperial despotism begins 
its reign, — hard, immovable, resolute, — under which 
genius is crushed, and life becomes epicurean, but under 
which property and order are preserved. The regime is 
bad : but it is a change for the better. War has produced 
its fruits. It has added empire, but undermined prosperity ; 
it has created a great military monarchy, but destroyed 
liberty ; it has brought wealth, but introduced inequal- 
ities ; it has filled the city with spoils, but sown the vices 
of self-interest. The machinery is perfect, but life has 
fled. It is henceforth the labor of emperors to keep to- 
gether their vast possessions with this machinery, which at 



70 The Conquests of the Romans. [Chap. I. 

last wears out, since there is neither genius to repair it 
nor patriotism to work it. It lasts three hundred years, 
but is broken to pieces by the Goths and Vandals. 

The highest authority in relation to the construction of an army is 
Polybius, who was contemporary with Scipio, at a period when Roman 
discipline was most perfect. A fragment from his sixth book gives 
considerable information. A chapter of Livy — the eighth — is also 
very much prized. Salmasius and Lepsius have also written learned 
treatises. Smith's Dictionary, which is full of details in every thing 
pertaining to the weapons, the armor, the military engines, the rewards 
and punishments of the soldiers, refers to Folard's Co?nmentaire, to 
Memoires M'ditaires sur les Grecs et les RomainSy by Guischard, and 
to the Histoire des Campagnes d^ Hannibal en Italic, by Vaudencourt. 
Tacitus, Sallust, Livy, Dion Cassius, Pliny, and Caesar reveal inci- 
dentally much that we wish to know. Gibbon gives some important 
facts in his first chapter. The subject of ancient machines is treated 
by Folard's Commentary attached to his translation of Polybius. 
CsBsar's Commentaries give us, after all, the liveliest idea of the mil- 
itary habits and tactics of the Romans. Josephus describes with 
great vividness the siege of Jerusalem. The article on Exercitus^ 
by Prof. Ramsay, in Smith's Dictionary, is the fullest I have read 
pertaining to the structure of a Roman army. 

For the narrative of wars, the reader is referred to ordinary Roman 
histories — to Livy and Caesar especially ; to Niebuhr, Mommsen, Ar- 
nold, and Liddell. See also Durny, Hist, des Romains ; Michelet, 
Hist, de Rom. Napoleon's History of Csesar should be read, admira- 
ble in style, and interesting in matter, although a sophistical defense 
of usurpation. 



CHAPTER 11. 

THE MATERIAL GRANDEUR AND GLORY OF THE ROMAN 

EMPIRE. 

To the eye of an ancient traveler there must have been 
something very grand and impressive in the external as- 
pects of wealth and power which the Roman Empire, in 
the period of its greatest glory, presented in every city 
and province. It will therefore be my aim in this chapter 
to present those objects of pride and strength which ap- 
pealed to the senses of an ordinary observer, and such as 
would first arrest his attention were he to describe the 
wonders he belield to those who were imperfectly ac- 
quainted with them. 

It is generally admitted that Roman greatness culmi- 
nated during the reigns of the Antonines, about culmination 
the middle of the second century of the Christian greatness. 
era. At that period we perceive the highest triumphs of 
material civilization and the proudest spirit of panygeric 
and self-confidence. To the eye of contemporaries it 
seemed that Rome was destined to be the mistress of the 
world forever. 

We naturally glance, in the first place, to the extent of 
that vast empire which has had no parallel in ancient or 
modern times, and which was erected on the ruins of all 
the powerful states of antiquity. It was a most wonder- 
ful centralization of power, spreading its arms of hopeless 
despotism from the Pillars of Hercules to the Caspian 
Sea ; from the Rhine and the Danube to the Euphrates 
and Tigris ; from the forests of Sarmatia to the deserts 



72 Grandeur and Qlory of the E^npire. [Gnw. ii. 

of Africa. The empire extended three thousand miles from 
Extent of ^^^t to west, and two thousand from north to 
the empire, gouth. It strctched over thirtv-five deo-rees of 
latitude, and sixty-five of longitude, and embraced within 
its limits nearly all the seas, lakes, and gulfs which com- 
merce explored. It contained 1,600,000 square 

Square miles. -i n i i • i i i i 

miles, tor the most part cultivated, and populated 
by peoples in various stages of civilization, some of 
whom were famous for arts and wealth, and could boast 
of heroes and cities, — of a past history brilliant and im- 
pressive. In nearly the centre of this great empire w^as 
Seas and ^^ Mediterranean Sea, which was only, as it 
nvers. were, an inland lake, upon whose shores the 

great cities of antiquity had flourished, and towards wdiich 
the tide of Assyrian and Persian conquests had rolled and 
then retreated forever. The great rivers — the Nile, the 
Po, and the Danube — flowed into this basin and its con- 
necting seas, w^afting the produce of distant provinces to 

the great central city on the Tiber. The bound- 
Boundaries. . p. , . -, 

aries oi the empire were great oceans, deserts, 

and mountains, beyond which it was difficult to extend or 

to retain conquests. On the west was the Atlantic Ocean, 

unknown and unexplored — that mysterious expanse of 

waters which filled navigators with awe and dread, and 

which was not destined to be crossed until the stars should 

cease to be the only guide. On the northwest was the 

undefined region of Scandinavia, into which the 

Scandiaavia. i i i i i 

Koman arms never penetrated, peopled b}'' those 
barbarians who were to be the future conquerors of Rome, 
and the creators of a new and more glorious civilization, — 
those Germanic tribes wdiich, under different names, had 
substantially the same manners, customs, and language, 
— a race more unconquerable and heroic than the Ro- 
mans themselves, the future lords of mcdiaival Europe, the 
ancestors of the English, the French, the Spaniards, and 
the Germans. On the northwest were the Sarmatians 



Chap. II.] The Provinces of the Empire. 73 

and Scythians — Sclavonic tribes, able to conquer, but 
not to reconstruct : savaojes repulsive and hid- 

. , /-\ 1 Sarmatia. 

eous even to the Goths themselves. On the 
east lay the Parthian empire, separated from Roman ter- 
ritories by the Euphrates, the Tigris, and the Arme- 
nian mountains. The Caucasian rano^e between 

. 1 1 i^ . 1 Mountains. 

the Jiuxme and the Caspian seas presented an 
insuperable barrier, as did the deserts of Arabia to the 
Roman legions. The Atlas, the African desert, and the 
cataracts of the Nile formed the southern boundaries. 
.The vulnerable part of tlie empire lay between the Dan- 
ube and Rhine, from which issued, in successive waves, 
the Germanic foes of Rome. To protect the empire 
against their incursions, the Emperor Probus constructed 
a wall, which, however, proved but a feeble defense. 

This immense empire was divided into thirty-six prov- 
inces, exclusive of Italy, each of which was gov- 

ProvincGS 

erned by a proconsul. The most important of 
these were Spain, Gaul, Sicily, Achaia, Asia Minor, 
Syria, and Egypt. Gaul was more extensive than mod- 
ern France. Achaia included Greece and the Ionian 
Islands. The empire embraced the modern states of 
England, France, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, 
Bavaria, Austria, Styria, the Tyrol, Hungary, Egypt, 
Morocco, Algiers, and the empire of Turkey both in Eu- 
rope and Asia. It took the Romans nearly five hundred 
years to subdue the various states of Italy, the complete 
subjugation of which took place with the fall of Taren- 
tum, a Grecian city, which introduced Grecian Results of 

, ,. o« M 1 r> T^ successive 

arts and literature, bicily, the granary or Rome, conquests 
was the next conquest, the fruit of the first Punic War. 
The second Punic War added to the empire Sardinia, Cor- 
sica, and the two Spanish provinces of B^etica and Tarra- 
conensis — about two thirds of the peninsula — fertile in 
the productions of the earth, and enriched by mines of 
silver and gold, and peopled by Iberians and Celts. The 



74 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire, [Chap, ii 

rich province of Illyricum was added to the empire about 
one hundred and eighty years before Christ. Before the 
battle of Actium, the empire extended over Acliaia, Asia 
Minor, Macedonia, Narbonensic Gaul, Cyrenaica, Crete, 
Cilicia, Cyprus, Bithynia, Syria, Aquitania, Belgic and 
Celtic Gaul. Augustus added Egypt, Lusitania, Numidia, 
Galatia, the Maritime Alps, Noricum, Vindelicia, Rhsetia, 
Pannonia, and Moesia. Tiberius increased the empire by 
the addition of Cappadocia. Claudius incorporated the 
two Mauritanias, Lycia, Judaea, Thrace, and Britain. 
Nero added Pontus. These various and extensive coun- 
tries had every variety of climate and productions, and 
boasted of celebrated cities. They composed most of the 
vastness of proviuccs kuown to the ancients west of the Eu- 

the political ■■ ^ ^ n ^ • • 

power. phrates, and together lormed an empale m com- 

parison with which the Assyrian and Egyptian monarchies, 
and even the Grecian conquests, were vastly inferior. 
The Saracenic conquests in the Middle Ages were not to 
be compared with these, and the great empires of Charle- 
magne and Napoleon could be included in less than half 
the limits. What a proud position it was to be a Roman 
emperor, whose will was the law over the whole civilized 
Empire world ! Well may the Roman empire be called 
universal. universal, since it controlled all the nations of 
the earth known to the Greeks. It was the vastest cen- 
tralization of power which this world has seen, or prob- 
ably will ever see, extending nearly over the whole of 
Europe, and the finest parts of Asia and Africa. We are 
amazed that a single city of Italy could thus occupy with 
her armies and reign supremely over so many diverse 
countries and nations, speaking different languages, and 
having: different relio-ions and customs. And when we 
contemplate this great fact, we cannot but feel that it was 
a providential event, designed for some grand benefit to 
the human race. That benefit was the preparation for 
the reception of a new and universal religion. No system 



Chap. IL] Italy. 75 

of " balance of power," no political or military combina- 
tions, no hostilities could prevent the absorption of the 
civilized world in the empire of the Caesars. 

If we more particularly examine this great empire, we 
observe that it was substantially composed of the various 
countries and kingdoms which bordered on the Mediter- 
ranean, and those other seas with which it was TheMediter- 
connected. Roman power was scarcely felt on centr?o?the 
the shores of the Baltic, or the eastern coasts of ^™p^^®- 
the Euxine, or on the Arabian and Persian gulfs. The 
central part of the empire was Italy, the province which 
was first conquered, and most densely populated. It was 
the richest in art, in cities, in commerce, and in agricul- 
ture. 

Italy itself was no inconsiderable state — a beautiful 
peninsula, extending six hundred and sixty geo- 
graphical miles from the foot of the Alps to the 
promontory of Leucopetra. Its greatest breadth is about 
one hundred and thirty miles. It was always renowned 
for beauty and fertility. Its climate on the south was that 
of Greece, and on the north that of the south of France. 
The lofty range of the Apennines extended through its 
entire length, while the waters of the Mediterranean and 
the Adriatic tempered and varied its climate. Its natural 
advantages were unequaled, with a soil favorable to agri- 
culture, to the culture of fruits, and the rearing of flocks. 
Its magnificent forests furnished timber for ships ; its rich 
pastures fed innumerable sheep, goats, cattle, and horses ; 
its olive groves were nowhere surpassed ; its mountains 
contained nearly every kind of metals ; its coasts Natural pro- 
furnished a great variety of fish ; while its min- 'i^*^*^^'^- 
eral springs supplied luxurious baths. There were no ex- 
tremes of heat and cold ; the sky was clear and serene ; 
the face of the country was a garden. It was a paradise 
to the eye of Virgil and Varro, the most favored of all 
the countries of antiquity in those productions which sus- 



76 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire. [Chap, n. 

tain the life of man or beast. The plains of Lombardy 
furnished maize and rice ; oranges grew to great perfec- 
tion on the Ligurian coast ; aloes and cactuses clothed the 
rocks of the southern provinces ; while the olive and the 
grape abounded in every section. The mineral wealth of 
Italy was extolled by the ancient writers, and the fisheries 
were as remarkable as agricultural products. The popu- 
lation numbered over four millions who were 
free, and could furnish seven hundred thousand 
foot and seventy thousand horse for the armies of the re- 
public, if they were all called into requisition. The whole 
country was dotted with beautiful villas and farms, as well 
as villacres and cities. It contained twelve hun- 

Cities. 

dred cities or large towns which had municipal 
privileges. Mediolanum, now Milan, the chief city in Cis- 
alpine Gaul, in the time of Ambrose, was adorned with 
palaces and temples and baths. It was so populous that it 
lost it is said at one time three hundred thousand male 
citizens in the inroads of the Goths. It was surrounded 
with a double range of walls, and the houses were ele- 
gantly built. It was also celebrated as the seat of learn- 
itaiian ^"& ^^^ culture. Vcroua had an amphitheatre of 

cities. marble, whose remains are among the most strik- 

ing monuments of antiquity, capable of seating twenty-two 
thousand people. Ravenna, near the mouth of the Padus 
(Po), built on piles, was a great naval depot, and had an 
artificial harbor capable of containing two hundred and 
fifty slilps of war, and was the seat of government after 
the fall of the empire. Padua counted among its inhabi- 
tants five hundred Roman knights, and was able to send 
twenty thousand men into the field. Aquileia was a great 
emporium of the trade in wine, oil, and salted provisions. 
Pola had a magnificent amphitheatre. Luna, now Spezzia, 
was famous for white marbles, and for cheeses which often 
weighed a thousand pounds. Arutium, now Avezzo, an 
Etrurian city, was celebrated for its potteries, many beau- 



Chap. II.] Italian Cities. 11 

itful specimens of which now ornament the galleries of 
Florence. Cortona had walls of massive thickness, which 
can be traced to the Pelasgians. Clusium, the capital of 
Porsenna, had a splendid mausoleum. Volsinii boasted of 
two tliousand statues. Veii had been the rival of Rome. 
In Umbria, we may mention Sarsina, the birthplace of Plau- 
tus ; Mevania, the birthplace of Propertius ; and Memorable 
Sentinum, famous for the self-devotion of Decius. '^^^^^^' 
In Picenum were Ancona, celebrated for its purple dye ; 
and Picenum, surrounded by walls and inaccessible heights, 
memorable for a siege against Pompey. Of the Sabine 
cities were Antemnse, more ancient than Rome ; Momen- 
tum, famous for wine ; Regillum, the birthplace of Ap- 
pius Claudius, the founder of the great Claudian family ; 
Reate, famous for asses, which sometimes brought the 
enormous price of 60,000 sesterces, about $2320 ; Cu- 
tiliae, celebrated for its mineral waters ; and Alba, in which 
captives of rank were secluded. In Latium were Ostia, 
the seaport of Rome ; Laurentum, the capital of Latinus ; 
Lavinium, fabled to have been founded by jEneas ; Lanu- 
vium, the birthplace of Roscius and the Antonines ; Alba 
Longa, founded. four hundred years before Rome; Tus- 
culum, where Cicero had his villa ; Tibur, whose temple 
was famous through Italy ; Pr^neste, now Palestrio, re- 
markable for its citadel and its temple of Fortune ; An- 
tium, to which Coriolanus retired after his banishment, 
a favorite residence of Augustus, and the birthplace of 
Nero, celebrated also for a magnificent temple, amid whose 
ruins was found the Apollo Belvidere ; Forum Appii, men- 
tioned by St. Paul, from which travelers on the Appian 
Way embarked on a canal ; Arpinum, the birthplace of 
Cicero ; Aquium, where Juvenal and Thomas Aquinas 
were born, famous for a purple dye ; Formi^e, a favorite 
residence of Cicero. In Campania were Cumse, the abode 
of the Sibyl ; Misenum, a great naval station ; Baise, cel- 
ebrated for its spas and villas ; Puteoli, famous for sulphur 



78 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire. [Chap. n. 

springs ; Neapolis, the abode of literary idlers ; Plerculane- 
um and Pompeii, destroyed by an eruption of Vesuvius ; 
Capua, the capital of Campania, and inferior to Rome 
alone ; and Salernum, a great military stronghold. In 
Samnium were Bovianum, a very opulent city; Beneven- 
tum, and Sepinum. In Apulia were Sarinum ; Venusia, 
the birthplace of Horace ; Cannae, memorable for the 
great victory of Hannibal ; Brundusium, a city of great 
antiquity on the Adriatic, and one of the great naval sta- 
tions of the Romans ; and Tarentum, the rival of Brun- 
dusium, a great military stronghold. In Lucania were 
Metapontum, at one time the residence of Pythagoras; 
Heraclea, the seat of a general council ; Sybaris, which 
once was the mistress ot twenty-five dependent cities, fifty 
stadia in circumference, and capable of sending an army 
^ of three hundred thousand ^ men into the field, — a city so 
prosperous and luxurious that the very name of Sybarite 
was synonymous with voluptuousness. 

Such were among the principal cities of Italy. More 
than two hundred and fifty towns or cities are historical, 
and were famous for the residence of great men, or for 
wanes, wool, dyes, and various articles of luxury. The 
ruins of Pompeii prove it to have been a city of 
great luxury and elegance. The excavations, 
which have brouo;ht to lio;ht the wonders of this buried 
city, attest a very high material civilization ; yet it was 
only a second-rate provincial town, of which not much is 
commemorated in history. It was simply a resort for 
Roman nobles who had villas in its neighborhood. It was 
surrounded with a wall, and was built with great regular- 
ity. Its streets were paved, and it had its forum, its am- 
pln'theatre, its theatre, its temples, its basilicas, its baths, 
its arches, and its monuments. The basilica was two hun- 
dred and twenty feet in length by eighty feet in width, the 
roof of which was supported by twenty-eight Ionic col- 

1 Anthon, Geog. Did. 



Chap. II.] Sicily and Africa, 79 

umns. The temple of Venus was profusely ornamented 
with pamtlngs. One of the theatres was built of marble, 
and was capable of seating five thousand spectators, and 
the amphitheatre would seat ten thousand. 

But Italy, so grand in cities, so varied in architectural 
wonders, so fertile in soil, so salubrious in climate, so rich 
in minerals, so prolific in fruits and vegetables and canals, 
w^as only a small part of the empire of the CaBsars. The 
Punic w^ars, undertaken soon after the expulsion of Pyrrhus, 
resulted in the acquisition of Sicily, Sardinia, and sicUyand 
Africa, from w^hich the Romans were supplied ^'^^'^^^• 
wdth inexhaustible quantities of grain, and in the creation 
of a great naval power. Sicily, the largest island of the 
Mediterranean, was not inferior to Italy in any kind of 
produce. It w^as, it was supposed, the native Richness of 
country of wheat. Its honey, its saffron, its ^^"^^* 
sheep, its horses, were all equally celebrated. The island, 
intersected by numerous streamy and beautiful valleys, 
was admirably adapted for the growth of the vine and 
olive. Its colonies, founded by Phoenicians and Greeks, 
cultivated all the arts of civilization. Long before the 
Roman conquest, its cities were famous for learning and 
art. Syracuse, a Corinthian colony, as old as 

T> ^ •\ n •^ • 1 ^ iit^> Syracuse. 

Kome, had a fortress a mile in length and halt a 
mile in breadth ; a temple of Diana whose doors were cel- 
ebrated throughout the Grecian world, and a theatre which 
could accommodate twenty-four thousand people. No 
city in Greece, except Athens, can produce structures 
which vie with those of which the remains are still visible 
at Agrigentum, SeHnus, and Segesta. 

Africa was one of the great provinces of the empire. 
It virtually embraced the Carthaginian empire, and was 
settled chiefly by the Phoenicians. Its capital, Carthage, 
so long the rival of Rome, was probably the 

, , . . ^ . . Carthage. 

greatest maritime mart ot antiquity, next to 
Alexandria. Though it had been completely destroyed, 



80 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire. [Chap. ii. 

yet it became under the emperors no inconsiderable city, 
and was tlie capital of a belt of territory extending one 
hundred and sixty miles, from the Pillars of Hercules to 
the bottom of the great Syrtis, unrivaled for fertility. Its 
population once numbered seven hundred thousand inhab- 
itants, and ruled over three hundred dependent cities, and 
could boast of a navy carrying one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand men. 

Greece, included under the province called Achaia, was 
the next great conquest of the Romans, the fruit of the 
Macedonian wars. Though small in territory, it was the 
The richness I'ichcst ofall tlic Rouiau acquisitions in its results 
of Greece. ^^-^ civihzatiou. The great peninsula to which 
Hellas beloncred extended from the Euxine to the Adri- 
atic ; but Hellas proper was not more than two hundred 
and fifty miles in length and one hundred and eighty in 
breadth. Attica contained but seven hundred and twenty 
square miles, yet how great in associations, deeds, and 
heroes ! When added to the empire, it was ricji in every 
element of civilization, in cities, in arts, in literature, in 
commerce, in manufactures, in domestic animals, in fruits, 
in cereals. It was a mountainous country, but had an 
extensive sea-coast, and a flourishing trade with all the 
countries of the world. Almost all the Grecian states had 
easy access to the sea, and each of the great cities were 
isolated from the rest by lofty mountains difficult to sur- 
mount. But the Roman arms and the Roman laws pene- 
trated to the most inaccessible retreats. 

In her political degradation, Greece still was the most 
iiermonu- interesting country on the globe. Every city had 
arts^an™* a liistory ; every monument betokened a triumph 
schools. ^f human genius. On her classic soil the great 
miracles of civilization had been wrought — the immortal 
teacher of all the nations in art, in literature, in philosophy, 
in war itself. Every cultivated Roman traveled in Greece ; 
every great noble sent his sons to be educated in her schools ; 



Chap. 11.] Athens, 81 

every great general sent to the banks of the Tiber some 
memento of her former greatness, some wonder of artistic 
skill. The wonders of Rome herself were but spohations 
of tliis glorious land. 

First in interest and glory was Athens, which was never 
more splendid than in the time of the Antonines. Thegioryof 
The p;reat works of the ao-e of Pericles still re- ^^^*"^^- 
tained their original beauty and freshness; and the city 
of Minerva still remained the centre of all that was ele- 
gant or learned of the ancient civilization, and was held 
everywhere in the profoundest veneration. There still 
flourished the various schools of philosophy, to which 
young men from all parts of the empire resorted to be 
educated — the Oxford and the Edinburgh, the Berlin 
and Paris of the ancient world. In spite of successive 
conquests, there still towered upon the Acropolis the tem- 
ple of Minerva, that famous Parthenon whose 
architectural wonders have never been even 
equaled, built of Pentelic marble, and adorned with 
the finest sculptures of Pheidias — a Doric temple, whose 
severe simplicity and matchless beauty have been the 
wonder of all ages — often imitated, ncA^er equaled, ma- 
jestic even in its ruins. Side by side, on that lofty for- 
tification in the centre of the city, on its western slope, 
was the Propyl^ea, one of the masterpieces of ancient 
art, also of Pentelic marble, costing 2000 talents, or 
$23,000,000,^ wdien gold was worth more than twenty 
times what it is now. Then there was the Erechtheum, 
the temple of Athena Polias, the most revered of all the 
sanctuaries of Athens, with its three Ionic porticos, and 
its frieze of black marble, with its olive statue of the 
goddess, and its sacred inclosures. The great temple of 
Zeus Olympius, commenced by Peisistratus and com- 
pleted by Hadrian, the largest ever dedicated to the deity 
among the Greeks, was four stadia in circumference. It 

1 Smith, Geog. Diet. 
6 



82 Graiideur and Glory of the Empire. [Chap. Ii. 

was surrounded by a peristyle whicli had ten columns in 
front and twenty on its sides. The peristyle being double 
on the sides, and having a triple range at either end, be- 
sides three columns between the antse at each end of the 
cella, consisted altogether of one hundred and twenty col- 
umns. These "svere sixty feet high and six and a half feet 
in diameter, the largest which now remain of ancient 
architecture in marble, or which still exist in Europe. 
This vast temple was three hundred and fifty-four feet in 
length and one hundred and seventy-one in breadth, and 
was full of statues. The ruins of this temple, of which six- 
teen columns are still standing, are among the most impos- 
ing in the world, and indicate a grandeur and majesty in 
the city of which we can scarcely conceive. The theatre 
of Bacchus, the most beautiful in the ancient world, would 
seat thirty thousand spectators. I need not mention 
the various architectural monuments of this classic city, 
each of which was a study — the Temple of Theseus, 
the Agora, the Odeum, the Areopagus, the Gymnasium 
of Hadrian, the Lyceum, and other buildings of singular 
beauty, built mostly of marble, and adorned with paint- 
inofs and statues. What work of o-enius in the whole 
world more interesting than the ivory and gold statue of 
Athena in the Parthenon, the masterpiece of Pheidias, 
forty feet high, the gold of which weighed forty talents, — 
a model for all succeeding sculptors, and to see which 
ti'avelers came from all parts of Greece ? Athens, a city 
of five hundred thousand inhabitants, was filled w^itli won- 
ders of art, which time has not yet fully destroyed. 

Corinth was another grand centre of Grecian civilization, 
richer and more luxurious than Athens. When 
taken by the Romans she possessed the most valua- 
ble pictures in Greece. Among them was one of Dionysus 
by Aristides for which Attains offered 600,000 sesterces. 
Rich commercial cities have ever been patrons of the fine 
arts. These they can appreciate better than poetry or phi- 



Chap. II.] Corinth. — Cities of Greece, 83 

losophy. The Corinthians invented the most elaborate 
style of architecture known to antiquity, and The wonders 
which was generally adopted at Rome. They ""^ ^^'^'^• 
were also patrons of statuary, especially of works in bronze, 
for which the city was celebrated. The Corinthian vessels 
of terra cotta were the finest in Greece. All articles of ele- 
gant luxury were manufactured here, especially elaborate 
tables, chests, and sideboards. If there had been a great 
exhibition in Rome, the works of the Corinthians would 
have been the most admired, and wotdd have suited the 
taste of the luxurious senators, amono; whom literature 
and the higher developments of art were unappreciated. 
There was no literature in Corinth after Periander, and 
amono- the illustrious writers of Greece not a sino-le Co- 
rinthian appeared. Nor did it ever produce an orator. 
What could be expected of a city whose patron goddess 
was Aphrodite ! But Lais was honored in the city, and 
rich merchants frequented her house. The city was most 
famous for courtesans, and female slaves, and extravagant 
luxury. It was like Antioch and Tyre and 

-^ * r\ • ^ 1 1 1 1 • 1 .Its luxury, 

Carthage. Cormth was probably the richest city 
in Greece, and one of the largest. It had, it is said, four 
hundred and sixty thousand slaves. Its streets, three miles 
in length, were adorned with costly edifices. Its fortress 
was one thousand eight hundred and eighty-six feet above 
the sea and very strong. 

Sparta, of historic fame, was not magnificent except in 
public buildings. It had a famous portico, the 
columns of which, of white marble, represented 
the illustrious persons among the vanquished Medes. 

Olympia, the holy city, was celebrated for its temple and 
its consecrated garden, where stood some of the 

. . . ^ /I . , Olympia. 

great masterpieces ot ancient art, among them 
the famous statue of Jupiter, the work of Pheidias, — an 
impersonation of majesty and power, — a work which fur- 
nished models from which Michael Angelo drew his inspi- 
ration. 



84 Grandeur and Qlory of the Empire. [Chap. ii. 

Delphi, another consecrated clt}^ was enriched with 

the contributions of all Greece, and was tlie seat 

of the Dorian relimon. So rich were the shrines 

of its oracle that Nero carried away from it five hundred 

statues of bronze at one time. 

Such was Greece, every city of which was famous for 
art, or literature, or commerce, or manufacture, or for 
deeds which live in history It had established a great 
empire in the East, but fell, like all other conquering na- 
tions, from the luxury which conquest engendered. It was 
no longer able to protect itself. Its phalanx, which resisted 
the shock of the Persian hosts, yielded to the all-conquer- 
ing legion. When iEmillus Paulus marched up the Via 
Greece en- Sacra wltli the spoils of the Macedonian kingdom 
nchesRome. -j^ |^jg g|.rjj-,(j ^j^j brilliant tHumph, he was pre- 
ceded by two hundred and fifty wagons containing pict- 
ures and statues, and three thousand men, each carrying a 
vase of silver coin, and four hundred more bearing crowns 
of gold. Yet this was but the commencement of the plun- 
der of Greece. 

And not merely Greece herself, but the islands which 
Islands coio- slic had colouizcd formed no slight addition to the 
Greeks. gloHcs of tlic empire. Rhodes was the seat of a 
famous school for sculpture and painting, from which is- 
sued the Laocoon and the Farnese Bull. It contained three 
thousand statues and one hundred and six colossi, among 
them the famous statue of the sun, one hundred and five 
feet high, one of the seven wonders of the world, contain- 
ing 3000 talents— more than $3,000,000. Its school of 
rhetoric was so celebrated that Cicero resorted to it to 
perfect himself in oratory. 

If we pass from Greece to Asia Minor and Syria, with 

their dependent provinces, all of which were added to the 

empire by the victories of Sulla and Pompey, we are still 

more impressed with the extent of the Roman 

rule. Asia Minor, a vast peninsula between the 



Chap. II.] Asia Minor. 85 

Mediterranean, iEi^ean, and Euxine seas, Included sev- 
eral of the old monarchies of the world. It extended from 
Ilium on the west to the banks of the Euphrates, from the 
northern parts of Bithynia and Pontus to Syria 

. . 1 1 * 1 M p " -'■^^ extent. 

and Cilicla, nine hundred miles from east to west, 
and nearly three hundred from north to south. It was the 
scene of some of the grandest conquests of the oriental 
world, Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian. Syria em- 
braced all countries from the eastern coasts of the Mediter- 
ranean to the Arabian deserts. No conquests of the Ro- 
mans were attended with more eclat than the subjection of 
these wealthy and populous sections of the oriental world ; 
and they introduced a boundless w^ealth and luxury into 
Italy. But in spite of th^ sack of cities and the deyasta- 
tions of armies, the old monarchy of the Seleucidae remained 
rich and ^rand. Both Syria and Asia Minor could boast 
of larixe and flourishino; cities, as well as every 

Cities. 

kind of luxury and art. Antioch was the third 
city in the empire, the capital of the Greek kings of Syria, 
and like Alexandria a monument of the Macedonian ao;e. 
It was built on a regular and magnificent plan, and abounded 
in temples and monuments. Its most striking feature was 
a street four miles in length, perfectly level, wdth double 
colonnades through its whole length, built by Antiochus 
Epiphanes. In magnitude the city was not much 

. p • Tk • 1 1 1 1 Antioch. 

interior to i aris at the present day, and covered 
more land than Rome. It had its baths, its theatres and 
am[)hitheatres, its fora, its museums, its aqueducts, its tem- 
ples, and its palaces. It was the most luxurious of all the 
cities of the East, and had a population of three hundred 
thousand who were free. In the latter days of the empire 
it was famous as the scene of the labors of Chrysostom. 

Ephesus, one of the twelve of the Ionian cities in Asia, 
was the glory of Lvdia, — a sacred city of which 

.1 ^ '^ n -r\- ^ i " Ephesus. 

the temple ot Diana was the greatest ornament. 

This famous temple was four times as large as the Partlie- 



86 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire. [Chai>. n. 

non, and covered as much ground as Cologne Cathedral, 
and was two hundred and twenty years in building. It 
had one hundred and twenty-eight columns sixty feet high, 
of which thirty-six were carved, each contributed by a 
king — the largest of all the Grecian temples, and prob- 
ably the most splendid. It was a city of great trade and 
wealth. Its theatre was the largest in the world, six hun- 
dred and sixty feet in diameter,^ and capable of holding 
sixty thousand spectators. Ephesus gave birth to Apelles 
the painter, and was the metropolis of five hundred cities. 
Jerusalem, so dear to Christians as tlie most sacred spot 
on earth, inclosed by lofty walls and towers, not 
so beautiful or populous as in the days of Solo- 
mon and David, was, before its destruction by Titus, one 
of the finest cities of the East. Its royal palace, sur- 
rounded by a wall thirty cubits high, with decorated 
towers at equal intervals, contained enormous banqueting 
halls and chambers most profusely ornamented ; and this 
palace, magnificent beyond description, was connected 
with porticos and gardens filled with statues and reser- 
voirs of water. It occupied a larger space than the pres- 
ent fortress, from the western edge of Mount Zion to the 
present oarden of the Armenian Convent. The 

The Temple. ' ^ l vi 

iemple, so tamous, Avas small compared with 
the great wonders of Grecian architecture, being only 
about one hundred and fifty feet by seventy; but its front 
was covered with plates of gold, and some of the stones 
of which it was composed were more than sixty feet in 
lencrth and nine in width. Its mao;nificence consisted in 
its decorations and the vast quantity of gold and precious 
woods used in its varied ornaments, and vessels of gold, so 
as to make it one of the most costly edifices ever erected 
TheAcropo- ^^ ^^^^ worship of God. The Acropolis, which 
^" was the fortress of tlie Temple, combined the 

strength of a castle with the magnificence of a palace, and 

1 Miiller, Anc. Art. 



i 



Chap. II.] Cities of Asia Minor, 87 

was like a city in extent, towering seventy cubits above the 
elevated rock upon which it was built. So strongly forti- 
fied was Jerusalem, even in its latter days, that it took Titus 
five months, with an army of one hundred thousand men, 
to subdue it ; one of the most memorable sieges on record. 
It probably would have held out against the whole power 
of Rome, had not famine done more than battering rams. 

Many other interesting cities might be mentioned both 
in Syria and Asia Minor, which were centres of trade, or 
seats of philosophy, or homes of art. Tarsus in Cilicia 
was a great mercantile city, to which strangers from all 
parts resorted. Damascus, the oldest city in the Damascus 
world, and the old capital of Syria, was both cities, 
beautiful and rich. Laodicea was famous for tapestries, 
Hierapolis for its iron wares, Cybara for its dyes, Sardis 
for its wines, Smyrna for its beautiful monuments, Delos 
for its slave-trade, Cyrene for its horses, Paphos for its tem- 
ple of Venus, in which were a hundred altars. Seleucia, 
on the Tigris, had a population of four hundred thousand. 
Caesarea, founded by Herod the Great, and the principal 
seat of government to the Roman prefects, had a harbor 
equal in size to the renowned Piraeus, and was secured 
against the southwest winds by a mole of such massive 
construction that the blocks of stone, sunk under the 
water, were fifty feet in length and eighteen in width, and 
nine in thickness.^ The city itself was constructed of pol- 
ished stone, with an agora, a theatre, a circus, a prsetorium, 
and a temple to Cassar. Tyre, which had resisted for 
seven months the armies of Alexander, remained to the 
fall of the empire a great emporium of trade. It monop- 
olized the manufacture of imperial purple. Sidon was 
equally celebrated for its glass and embroidered robes. 
The Sidonians cast glass mirrors, and imitated precious 
stones. But the glory of both Tyre and Sidon was in 
ships, which visited all the coasts of the Mediterranean, 
and even penetrated to Britain and India. 

1 Josephus, Ant., xv. 



88 Grandeur and Gloyy of the Umpire. [Chap. ii. 

But greater than Tyre, or Antioch, or any eastern 
city, was Alexandria, tlie capital of Egypt, which was one 
of the last provinces added to the empire. Egypt alone 

was a mio-htv monarchy — the oldest which his- 
Egypt. , " . • 1 ] 

tory commemorates, august m ix^cords and mem- 
ories. What pride, what pomp, what glory are associated 
with the land of the Pharaohs, with its mighty river reach- 
ing to the centre of a great continent, flowing thousands 
of miles to the sea, irnVatino; and enrichincr the most fer- 
tile valley of the world ! What noble and populous cities 
arose upon its banks three thousand years before Roman 
power was felt ! What enduring monuments remain of a 
Its ancient "^'^ly ancicut yet extinct civilization ! What suc- 
grandeur. ccssivc raccs of couqucrors have triumphed in the 
granite palaces of Thebes and Memphis ! Old, sacred, 
rich, populous, and learned, Egypt becomes a province of 
the Roman empire. The sceptre of three hundred kings 
passes from Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemies, to Augus- 
tus Csesar, the conqueror at Actium ; and six millions of 
different races, once the most civilized on the earth, are 
amalgamated with the other races and peoples which com- 
pose the miiversal monarchy. At one time the military 
force of Egypt is said to have amounted to seven hundred 
thousand men, in the period of its greatest prosperity. The 
annual revenues of this state under the Ptolemies amounted 
Glories of ^^ about $17,000,000 in gold and silver, beside 
Egypt. |.j^p produce of the earth. A single feast cost Phil- 

adelphus more than half a million of pounds sterling, and 
he had accumulated treasures to the amount of 740,000 
talents, or about |860,000,000.i What European monarch 
ever possessed such a sum ? The kings of Egypt were 
richer in the gold and silver tliey could command than Louis 
XIV., in the proudest hour of his life. What monarchs 

ever reigned with more absolute power than the 

Thebes. 

kings of this ancient seat of learnino; and art ! The 

1 Napoleon, Life of Coesar. 



Chap. II.] Alexandria. 89 

foundation of Thebes goes back to the mythical period of 
Egyptian history, and it covered as much ground as Rome 
or Paris, equally the centre of religion, of trade, of man- 
ufactures, and of government, — the sacerdotal capital of 
all who worshiped Ammon from Pelusium to Axume, 
from the Red Sea to the Oases of Libya. The palaces of 
Thebes, thouo-h ruins two thousand vears ajro as they are 
ruins now, were the largest and probably the most mag- 
nificent ever erected by the hand of man. What must be 
thought of a palace whose central hall was eighty feet in 
height, three hundred and twenty-five feet in length, and 
one hundred and seventy-nine in breadth ; the roof of 
which was supported by one hundred and thirty-four col- 
umns, eleven feet in diameter and seventy-six feet in 
height, w^ith their pedestals ; and where the cornices of the 
finest marble were inlaid with ivory moldings or sheathed 
with beaten sold ! But I do not now refer to the o-lories 
of Egypt under Sesostris or Rameses, but to what they 
were when Alexandria w^as the capital of the country, — 
what it was under the Roman domination. 

The ground-plan of this great city was traced by Alex- 
ander himself, but it was not completed until the reign of 
Ptolemy Philadelphus. It continued to receive embel- 
lishments from nearly every monarch of the Lagian line. 
Its circumference w^as about fifteen miles; the Extent and 
streets were regular, and crossed one another at ofTiSln'^ 
rioht ano;les, and w^ere wide enouo;h to adaiit ^"*" 
both carriages and foot passengers. The harbor was large 
enough to admit the largest fleet ever constructed ; its walls 
and gates were constructed with all the skill and strength 
known to antiquity ; its population numbered six hundred 
thousand, and all nations were represented in its crowded 
streets. The wealth of the city may be inferred from the 
fact that in one year 6250 talents, or more than 83,000,000, 
were paid to the public treasury for port dues. 
The library was the largest in the world, and num- 



90 Grandeur and Glory of the Umjnre, [Chap. ii. 

bered over seven hundred thousand volumes, and this was 
connected with a museum, a menagerie, a botanical garden, 
and various halls for lectures, altoo-ether formino- the most 
famous university in the empire. The inhabitants were 
chiefly Greek, and had all their cultivated tastes and mer- 
cantile thrift. In a commercial point of view it was the 
most important in the empire, and its ships whitened every 
sea. Alexandria was of remarkable beauty, and was called 
by Ammianus Ve7^tex omnium civitatum. Its dry atmos- 
phere preserved for centuries the sharp outlines and gay 
colors of its buildings, some of which were remarkably 
Public imposing. The Mausoleum of the Ptolemies, the 

buildings. jjjgi^ q;^^^,^ ^^ Justice, the Stadium, the Gym- 
nasium, the Palaestra, the Amphitheatre, and the Tem- 
ple of the Caesars, all called out the admiration of travel- 
ers. The Emporium far surpassed the quays of the Tiber. 
But the most imposing structure Avas the Exchange, to 
which, for eight hundred years, all the nations sent 
their representatives. It was commerce which 
made Alexandria so rich and beautiful, for which 
it was more distinguished than both Tyre and Carthage. 
Unlike most commercial cities, it was intellectual, and its 
schools of poetry, mathematics, medicine, philosojdiy, and 
theology were more renowned than even those of Athens 
during the third and fourth centuries. For wealth, popu- 
lation, intelhgence, and art, it was the second city of the 
world. It woukl be a great capital in these times. 

Such were Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and 
Africa, all of which had been great empires, but all of 
which were incorporated with the Roman in less than two 
hundred years after Italy succumbed to the fortunate city 
on the Tiber. But these old and venerated monarchies, 
with their dependent states and provinces, though impos- 
Poworofthe ing and majestic, did not compose the vital part 

empire seat- n i • r» i /->( Ti ±^ 

ediniho 01 tlic empu'c ot tlic (_/sesars. It was those new 
provinces. proviuccs wliicli Were rescued from the barba- 



Chap. II.] Spain. — Its Provinces. 91 

riaiis, chiefly Celts, where the hfe of the empire centred. 
It was Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Illyricum, countries 
which now compose the most powerful European mon- 
archies, which the more truly show the strength of the 
Roman world. And these countries were added last, and 
wei'e not fully incorporated with the empire until imperial 
power had culminated in the Antonines. From a com- 
parative wilderness, Spain and Gaul especially became 
populous and flourishing states, dotted with cities, and in- 
structed in all the departments of Roman art and science. 
From these provinces the armies were recruited, the 
schools were filled, and even the great generals and em- 
perors were furnished. These provinces embraced nearly 
the whole of modern Europe. 

Spain had been added to the empire after the destruc- 
tion of Carthage, but only after a bitter and 
protracted warfare. It was completed by the 
reduction of Numantia, a city of the Celtiberians in the 
valley of the Douro, and its siege is more famous than 
that of Carthage, having defied for a long time the whole 
power of the empire, as Tyre did Alexander, and Jerusa- 
lem the armies of Titus. It yielded to the genius of 
Scipio, the conqueror of Africa, as La Rochelle, in later 
times, fell before Richelieu, but not until famine had done 
its work. The civilization of Spain was rapid after the 
fall of Numantia, and in the time of the Antonines was 
one of the richest and most prized of the Roman prov- 
inces. It embraced the whole peninsula, from the Pil- 
lars of Hercules to the Pyrenees ; and the warlike na- 
tions who composed it became completely Latinized. It 
was divided into three provinces — Baetica, itsproy- 
Lusitania, and Tarraconensis — all governed ^^^*^^- 
by praetors, the last of whom had consular power, and 
resided in Carthago Nova, on the Mediterranean. Under 
Constantine, Spain, with its islands, was divided into 
seven provinces, and stood out from the rest of the em- 



92 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire. [Chap. ii. 

pire like a round bastion tower from the walls of an old 
fortified town. This magnificent possession, extending 
four hundred and sixty miles from north to south, and five 
hundred and seventy from east to west, includino;, with 
the Balearic Isles, 171,300 square miles, with a rich and 
fertile soil and inexhaustible mineral resources, was worth 
more to the Romans than all the conquests of Pompey 
and Sulla, since it furnished men for the armies, and ma- 
terials for a new civilization. It furnished corn, 

Productions. ., . ^ . ^ . i p ii i • i 

oil, wme, iruits, pasturage, metals or all kinds, 
and precious stones. Bsetica was famed for its harvests, 
Lusitania for its flocks, Tarraconensis for its timber, and 
the fields around Carthago Nova for materials of which 
cordage was made. But the great value of the peninsula 
to the eyes of the Romans was in its rich mines of gold, 
silver, and other metals. The bulk of the population was 
Iberian. The Celtic element was the next most prominent. 
Its towns and There were six hundred and ninety-three towns 
cities. ^j^j cities in which justice was administered. 

New Carthao-e, on the Mediterranean, had a mao;nificent 
harbor, was strongly fortified, and was twenty stadia in 
circumference, was a great emporium of ti-ade, and was 
in the near vicinity of the richest silver mines of Spain, 
itscommer- "^^diicli employed forty thousand men. Gades 
ciaiceutres. ^]^g^y Qadiz), a Phoenician colony, on the Atlan- 
tic Ocean, was another commercial centre, and numbered 
five hundred Equites among the population, and was 
immensely rich. Corduba, on the Ba^tis (Guadalquivir), 
the capital of BiEtica, was a po})ulous city before the Ro- 
man conquest, and was second only to Gades as a com- 
mercial mart. It was the birthplace of Seneca and 
Lucan. 

Gaul, which was the first of Ciesar's most brilliant con- 
quests, and which took him ten years to accomplish, was a 
still more extensive province. It was inhabited chiefly by 
Celtic tribes, who, uniting with Germanic nations, made 



Chap. II.] The Cities of Gaul. 93 

a most obstinate defense. Wlien incorporated with the 
empire, Gaul became rapidly civilized. It was a splendid 
country, extending from the Pyrenees to the Rhine, with 
a sea-coast of more than six hundred miles, and Richness of 
separated from Italy by the Alps, having 200,- ^^^^" 
000 square miles. Great rivers, as in Spain, favored an 
extensive commerce with the interior, and on their banks 
were populous and beautiful cities. Its large coast on both 
the Mediterranean and the Atlantic gave it a communica- 
tion with all the world. It produced corn, oil, and wine, 
those great staples, in great abundance. It had a beautiful 
climate, and a healthy and hardy population, warlike, cour- 
ageous, and generous. Gaul was a populous country even 
in Caesar's time, and possessed twelve hundred population 
towns and cities, some of which were of great im- ^^'^ ^^'^I'^s- 
portance. Burdlgala, now Bordeaux, the chief city of Aqui- 
tania, on the Garonne, was famous for its schools of rhetoric 
and grammar. Massolia (Marseilles), before the Punic 
wars was a strong fortified city, and was largely engaged in 
commerce. Vienne, a city of the Allobroges, was inclosed 
with lofty walls, and had an amphitheatre whose long diam- 
eter was five hundred feet, and the aqueducts supplied the 
city with water. Lugdunum (Lyons) on the Phone, was 
a place of great trade, and was filled with temples, theatres, 
palaces, and aqueducts. Nemausus (Nimes) had subject 
to it twenty-four villages, and from the monuments which 
remain, must have been a city of considerable importance. 
Its amphitheatre would seat seventeen thousand splendor of 

^ ^ Gaulish 

people ; and its aqueduct constructed of three "ties. 
successive tiers of arches, one hundred and fifty-five feet 
high, eight hundred and seventy feet long, and fifty feet 
wide, is still one of the finest monuments of antiquity, 
built of stone without cement. It is still solid and strong, 
and gives us a vivid conception of the magnificence of Ro- 
man masonry. Narbo (Narbonne) was another commer- 
cial centre, adorned with public buildings which called 



94 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire. [Chap. ii. 

forth the admiration of ancient travelers. The modern 
cities of Treves, Boulogne, Rheims, Chalons, Cologne, 
Metz, Dijon, Sens, Orleans, Poictiers, Clermont, Rouen, 
Paris, Basil, Geneva, were all considerable places under the 
Roman rule, and some were of great antiquity. 

Illyricum is not famous in Roman history, but was a very 
considerable province, equal to the whole Aus- 

Ulyricum. . . . , 

trian empn'e in our times, and was as completely 
reclaimed from barbarism as Gaul or Spain. Both Jerome 
and Diocletian were born in a little Dalmatian town 

Nothing could surpass the countries which bordered on 
the Mediterranean in all those thino-s which oive material 
prosperity. They were salubrious in climate, fertile in soil, 
cultivated like a garden, abounding in nearly all the fruits, 
vegetables, and grains now known to civilization. The 
Cuitirated bcautiful face of nature was the subject of uni- 
ture. ' versal panegyric to the fall of the empire. There 
were no destructive wars. All the various provinces were 
controlled by the central power which emanated from 
Rome. There was scope for commerce, and all kinds of 
manufacturing skill. Italy, Sicily, and Egypt were espe- 
cially fertile. The latter country furnished corn in count- 
less quantities for the Roman market. Italy could boast of 
Agricultural ^^^J kiuds of wiuc, and was covered with luxu- 
Tveaith. rious villas in which were fish-ponds, preserves 

for game, wide olive groves and vineyards, to say nothing 
of the farms which produced milk, cheese, honey, and 
poultry. Syria was so prosperous that its inhabitants 
divided their time between the field, the banquet, and the 
gymnasium, and indulged in continual festivals. It was so 
rich that Antiochus III. was able to furnish at one time a 
tribute of 15,000 talents, beside 540,000 measures of wheat. 
The luxury of Nineveh and Babylon was revived in the 
Phoenician cities. 

S})ain produced horses, mules, wool, oil, figs, wine, corn, 
honey, beer, flax, linen, beside mines of copper, silver. 



Chap. II.] Productions and Roads, 95 

gold, quicksilver, tin, lead, and steel. Gaiil was so cul- 
tivated tliat there was little waste land, and pro- Natural pro- 
duced the same fruits and vegetables as at the f^g various 
present day. Its hams and sausages were much p^^^'^^^^- 
prized. Sicily was famous for wheat, Sardinia for wool, 
Epirus for horses, Macedonia for goats, Thessaly for oil, 
Boeotia for flax, Scythia for furs, and Greece for honey. 
Almost all the flowers, herbs, and fruits that grow in Eu- 
ropean gardens were known to the Romans — the apricot, 
the peach, the pomegranate, the citron, the orange, the 
quince, the apple, the pear, the plum, the cherry, the fig, 
the date, the olive. Martial speaks of pepper, beans, pulp, 
lentils, barley, beets, lettuce, radishes, cabbage sprouts, 
leeks, turnips, asparagus, , mushrooms, trufiies, as well as 
all sorts of game and birds. ^ In no age of the world was 
agriculture more honored than before the fall of the em- 
pire. 

And all these provinces were connected with each other 
and with the capital by magnificent roads, per- 
fectly straight, and paved with large blocks of 
stone. They were originally constructed for military pur- 
poses, but were used by travelers, and on them posts w"ere 
regularly established. They crossed valleys upon arches, 
and penetrated mountains. In Italy, especially, they were 
great works of art, and connected all the provinces. Among 
the great roads which conveyed to Rome as a centre were 
the Clodian and Cassian roads which passed through Etru- 
ria ; the Amerina and Flavinia through Umbria ; the Via 
Valeria, which had its terminus at Alternum on the Adri- 
atic ; the Via Latina, which, passing through Latium and 
Campania, extended to the southern extremity of Italy; 
the Via Appia also passed through Latium, Campania, Lu- 
cania, lapygia to Brundusium, on the Adriatic. Again, 
from the central terminus at Milan, several lines passed 
through the gorges of the Alps, and connected Italy with 

1 Martial, B. 13. 



96 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire. [Chap. it. 

Lyons and ]\Iayence on the one side, and with the Tyrol 
and Danubian provinces on the other. Spain and sonthern 
Gaul were connected by a grand road from Cadiz to Nar- 
bonne and Aries. Lyons was another centre from which 
branched out military roads to Saintes, Marseilles, Bou- 
logne, and Mayence. Li fact, the Roman legion could 
traverse every province in the empire over these grandly 
built public roads, as great and important in the second cen- 
tury as railroads are at the present time. There was an 
uninterrupted communication from the Wall of Antonius 
through York, London, Sandwich, Boulogne, Rheims, Ly- 
ons, Milan, Rome, Brundusium, Dyrrachium, Byzantium, 
Ancyra, Tarsus, Antioch, Tyre, Jerusalem — a distance 
of 3740 miles. And these roads were divided by mile- 
stones, and houses for travelers erected every five or six 
miles. 

Commerce under the emperors w^as not what it now 
is, but still was very considerable, and thus united 

Commerce. . . '' 

the various provmces togetlier. i he most remote 
countries were ransacked to furnish luxuries for Rome. 
Every year a fleet of one hundred and twenty vessels sailed 
from the Red Sea for the islands of the Indian Ocean. 
But the Mediterranean, with the rivers which flowed into 
it, was the great highway of the ancient navigator. Navi- 
gation by the ancients was even more rapid than in modern 
times before the invention of steam, since oars were em- 
ployed as well as sails. In summer one hundred and sixty- 
two Roman miles were sailed over in twenty-four hours. 
This was the average speed, or about seven knots. From 
the mouth of the Tiber, vessels could usually reach Africa 
in two days, Massilia in three, Tarraco in four, and the 
Pillars of Hercules in seven. From Puteoli the passage to 
Alexandria had been effected, with moderate winds, in nine 
days. But these facts apply only to the summer, and to 
Objcctaof favorable winds. The Romans did not navigate 

ancient com- . , . , t-» • "^ i 

merce. m the mclemcnt seasons, liut \n summer the 



Chap. II.] RoTm. 97 

great inland sea was wliite with sails. Great fleets 
brought corn from Gaul, Spain, Sardinia, Africa, Sicily, 
and Egypt. This was the most important trade. But a 
considerable commerce was carried on in ivory, tortoise- 
shell, cotton and silk fabrics, pearls and precious stones, 
gums, spices, wines, wool, oil. Greek and Asiatic wines, 
especially the Chian and Lesbian, w^ere in great demand at 
Rome. The transport of earthenware, made generally in 
the Grecian cities ; of wild animals for the amphitheatre ; 
of marble, of the spoils of eastern cities, of military en- 
gines, and stores, and horses, required very large fleets and 
thousands of mariners, which probably belonged, chiefly, 
to great maritime cities like Alexandria, Corinth, Car- 
thage, Rhodes, Cyrene, Massalia, Neapolis, Tarentum, and 
Syracuse. These great cities with their dependencies, 
required even more vessels for communication with each 
other than for Rome herself — the great central object of 
enterprise and cupidity. 

In this survey of the provinces and cities which com- 
posed the empire of the Cassars, I have not yet spoken of 
the great central city — the City of the Seven The metrop- 
Hills, to which all the world was tributary. Rome empire. 
was so grand, so vast, so important in every sense, polit- 
ical and social ; she was such a concentration of riches and 
wonders, that it demands a separate and fuller notice than 
what I have been able to give of those proud capitals 
which finally yielded to her majestic domination. All other 
cities not merely yielded precedence, but contributed to her 
greatness. Whatever was costly, or rare, or beautiful in 
Greece, or Asia, or Egypt, was appropriated by her citizen 
kings, since citizens were provincial governors. All the 
great roads, from the Atlantic to the Tigris, converged to 
Rome. All the ships of Alexandria and Carthage and 
Tarentum, and other commercial capitals, were employed 
in furnishing her with luxuries or necessities. Never was 
there so proud a city as this " Epitom.e of the Universe." 
7 



98 Grandeur and Glory of the Empire. [Chap. ii. 

London, Paris, Vienna, Constantinople, St. Petersburg, 
Berlin, are great centres of fashion and power ; but they 
are rivals, and excel only in some great department of hu- 
man enterprise and genius, as in letters, or fashions, or com- 
merce, or manufactures — centres of influence and power 
in the countries of which they are capitals, yet they do 
not monopolize the wealth and energies of the world. Lon- 
don may contain more people than ancient Rome, and may 
possess more commercial wealth ; but London represents 
only the British monarchy, not a universal empire. Rome, 
The centre howcvcr, mouopoHzed everything, and controlled 
p?ideofthe ^^^ uations and pcoplcs. She could shut up the 
^°^^**' schools of Athens, or disperse the ships of Alex- 

andria, or regulate the shops of Antioch. What Lyons or 
Bordeaux is to Paris, Corinth or Babylon was to Rome — 
secondary cities, dependent cities. Paul condemned at 
Jerusalem, stretched out his arms to Rome, and Rome pro- 
tects him. The philosophers of Greece are the tutors of 
Roman nobility. The kings of the East resort to the pal- 
aces of Mount Palatine for favors or safety. The governors 
of Syria and Egypt, reigning in the palaces of ancient 
kings, return to Rome to squander the riches they have 
accumulated. Senators and nobles take their turn as sov- 
ereign rulers of all the known countries of the world. The 
halls in which Darius, and Alexander, and Pericles, and 
Cra3sus, and Solomon, and Cleopatra have feasted, if un- 
spared by the conflagrations of war, witness the banquets 
of Roman proconsuls. Babylon and Thebes and Athens 
were only what Delhi and Calcutta are to the English of 
our day — cities to be ruled by the delegates of the Roman 
Senate. Rome was the only " home " of the proud gov- 
ernors who reigned on the banks of the Thames, of the 
Seine, of the Rhine, of the Nile, of the Tigris. After they 
had enriched themselves with the spoils of the ancient mon- 
archies they returned to their estates in Italy, or to their 
palaces on the Aventine, for the earth had but one capital 



Chap, ii.] Rome, 99 

— one great centre of attraction. To an Egyptian even, 
Alexandria was only provincial. He must travel to the 
banks of the Tiber to see something greater than his own 
capital. It w^as the seat of government for one hundred 
and twenty millions of people. It was the arbiter its varied 
of taste and fashion. It was the home of gen- interest. 
erals and senators and statesmen, of artists and scholars 
and merchants, who were renowned throughout the em- 
pire. It was enriched by the contributions of conquered 
nations for eight hundred years. It contained more mar- 
ble statues than living inhabitants. Every spot was con- 
secrated by associations ; every temple had a history ; 
every palace had been the scene of festivities which made 
it famous ; every monument pointed to the deeds of the 
illustrious dead, and swelled the pride of the most power- 
ful families which aristocratic ages had created. 

For the ancient authorities, see Strabo, Pliny, Polyblus, DIodorus 
Siculus, Titus Livlus, Pausanias, and Herodotus. There is an able 
chapter on Mediterranean prosperity in Napoleon's History of Coesar. 
Smith, Dictionary of Ancient Geography^ is exhaustive. See, also, 
Miiller, article on Atticus, in Ersch, and Gruber's Encyclopedia, trans- 
lated by Lockhart ; Stuart and Revett, Antiquities of Atticus ; Dod- 
well, Tour through Greece; Wilkinson, Hand-hook for Travelers in 
Egypt; Becker, Hand-hook of Rome. Anthon has compiled a useful 
work on ancient geography, but the most accessible and valuable book 
on the material aspects of the old Roman world is the great dictionary 
of Smith, from which this chapter is chiefly compiled. 



CHAPTER HI. 

THE WONDERS OF ANCIENT ROME. 

The great capital of the ancient world had a very hum- 
ble beginning, and that is involved in myth and mystery. 
Even the Latin stock, inhabiting the country from the 
Tiber to the Volscian mountains, which furnished the first 
Early in- inhabitants of the city, cannot be clearly traced, 

habitants of. , ,.. n ^ n '' ' ' 

Italy. smce we have no traditions ot the iirst migration 

of the human race into Italy. It is supposed by Mommsen 
that the peoples which inhabited Latium belong to the 
Indo-Germanic family. Among these were probably the 
independent cantons of the Ramnians, Tities, and Luceres, 
which united to form a single commonwealth, and occupied 
the hills which arose about fourteen miles from the mouth 
of the Tiber. Around these hills was a rural population 
which tilled the fields. From these settlements a fortified 
fort arose on the Palatine Hill, fitted to be a place of trade 
from its situation on the Tiber, and also a fortress to pro- 
tect the urban villages. Though unhealthy in its site, it 
was admirably adapted for these purposes, and thus early 
became an important place. 

The legends attribute a different foundation of the 
" Eternal City." But these also assign the Palatine as 
the nucleus of ancient Rome. It was on this hill that 
Romulus and Remus grew up to manhood, and it was this 
hill which Romulus selected as the site of the city he was 
so desirous to build. But modern critics suppose that he 
did not occupy the whole hill, but only the western part 
of it. Varro, whose authority is generally received, as- 



Chap. III.] Rome under Numa» 101 

signs the year 753 before Christ as the date for the founda- 
tion of the city. The first memorable incident Foundation 
in the history of this httle city of robbers was the °^ ^^^^' 
care of Romulus to increase its population by opening an 
asylum for fugitive slaves on the Capitoline Hill. But this 
supplied only males who had no w^ves. And when the 
proposal of the founder to solicit intermarriage with the 
neighboring nations was rejected, he resorted to stratagem 
and force. He invites the Sabines and the people of other 
Latin towns to witness games. A crowd of men and 
women are assembled, and while all are intent settlement 

, , . , . , under Rom- 

on the games, the unmarried women are seized uius. 
by the Roman youth. Then ensues, of course, a war with 
the Sabines, the result of which is that the Sabines are 
united with the Romans and settle on the Quirinal. The 
Saturnian Hill is left in possession of the Sabines, while 
Romulus assumes the Sabine name of Quirinus, from which 
we infer that the Sabines had the best of the conflict. 
Callius, who, it is said, assisted Romulus, receives as a 
compensation the hill known as the Caelian. At the death 
of Romulus, who reigned thirty -seven years. Extent of 
Rome comprised the Palatine, the Quirinal, the {hedeath'of 
Csellan, and the Capitoline hills.i xhe Sabines i^°"^"i"«- 
thus occupy two of the seven hills, and furnish not only 
people for the infant city, but laws, customs, and manners, 
especially religious observances. 

The reign of Nama was devoted to the consolidation of 
the power which Romulus had acquired, to the The pubUc 
civilization of his subjects, and the improvement Numa. 
of the city. He fixed his residence between the Roman 
and the Sabine city, and erected adjoining to the Regia a 
temple to Vesta, which was probably only an cedes sacra. 
It was probably along with these buildings that the Sacra 
Via came into existence. The Regia became in after times 
the residence of the Pontifex Maximus. Numa estab- 

1 M. Ampere, Eist. Eom., torn. i. ch. xii. 



102 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap. hi. 

lished on the Palatine the Curia Sahorum, and built on 
the Quirinal a temple of Romulus, afterwards rebuilt by 
Augustus. He also erected on the Quirinal a citadel con- 
nected with a temple of Jupiter, with cells of Juno and 
Minerva. He converted the gate which formed the en- 
trance of the Sabine city into a temple of Janus, and laid 
the foundation upon the Capitoline of a large temple to 
Fides Publica, the public faith. 

Under the reign of Tullus Hostilius was the capture of 
The reign of Alba Loucra, the old Capital of Latium, where 

Tullus . 

HostiUus. Numa had reigned, and the transfer of its inhab- 
itants to Rome, which thus became the chief city of the 
Latin league. They were located on the Caelian, which 
also became the residence of the king. He built the Curia 
Hostilia, a senate chamber, to accommodate the noble 
Alban families, in which the Roman Senate assembled, at 
the northwest corner of the Forum, to the latest times of 
the republic. It was a temj^lum, but not dedicated for 
divine services, adjoining the eastern side of the Vulcanal. 
Improve- ^^^ ^^ *^^^ spoils of Alba Longa, Tullus improved 
Sty"mad?by ^^ Comitium, a space at the northwest end of 
TuUus. ^^ Forum, fronting the Curia, the common meet- 

ing place of the Romans and Sabines. On the Quirinal 
Hill he erected a Curia Saliorum in imitation of that of 
Numa on the Palatine, devoted to the w^orship of Quirinus. 
Ancus Martins, a grandson of Numa, succeeded Tullus 
Growth of after a reign of thirty-two years. Under him the 
the reign of city was greatly augmented by the inhabitants of 

Ancus Mar- . ^. .. i-ii ii i t'U 

tius. various Latin cities which he subduea. Inese 

settled on the Aventine, and in the valley which separated 
it from the Palatine, supposed by Niebuhr to be the origin 
of the Roman Plebs, thouo-h it is maintained bv Lewis that 
the Plebeian order was coeval with the foundation of the 
city. Ancus fortified Mons Janiculus, the hill on the 
western bank of the Tiber, for the protection of the city. 
He connected it with Rome by the Pons Sublicius, the 



Chap. III.] Reign of Tarquinius Prisons, 103 

earliest of the Roman bridges, built on piles. The Janlc- 
ulum was not much occupied by residences until the time 
of Augustus. Ancus founded Ostia, at the moutli of the 
Tiber, which became the port of Rome. It was this king 
who built the famous Mamertine Prison, near the Forum, 
below the northern height of the Capitoline. 

A new dynasty succeeded this king, who reigned twenty- 
four years ; that of the Tarquins, an Etrurian Tarquiniua 
family of Greek extraction, which came from ^"^''"^• 
Corinth, the cradle of Grecian art, celebrated as the birth- 
place of painting and for its works of pottery and bronze. 
Tarquinius Priscus constructed the Cloaca Max- Thecioaca 
ima, that vast sewer which drained the Forum ^^^^™^- 
and Velabrum, and which. is regarded by Niebuhr as one 
of the most stupendous monuments of antiquity. It was 
composed of three semicircular arches inclosing one an- 
other, the innermost of which had a diameter of twelve 
feet, large enough to be traversed by a Roman hay-cart.^ 
It was built without cement, and still remains a mamiifi- 
cent specimen of the perfection of the old Tuscan masonry. 
Alono; the southern side of the Forum this enlightened 
monarch constructed a row of shops occupied by butchers 
and other tradesmen. At the head of the Forum and 
under the Capitoline he founded the Temple of Saturn, 
the ruins of which attest considerable splendor. But his 
greatest work was the foundation of the Capi- Temple of the 
toline Temple of Jupiter, completed by Tarquin- juplter"^ 
ius Superbus, the consecrated citadel in which was depos- 
ited whatever was most valued by the Romans. 

During the reign of Servius Tullius, who succeeded 
Tarquin b. c. 578, the various elements of the Accession of 
population were amalgamated, and the seven hills, tuiuus. 
namely, the Palatine, the Capitoline, the Quirinal, the Cae- 
lian, the Viminal, the EsquiUne, and the Aventine, were 
covered with houses, and inclosed by a w^all about six 

1 Arnold, Tli&L of Rum., vol. i. p. 52. 



104 The Wonders of Ancient Rome. [Chap. ni. 

miles in circuit. A temple of Diana was erected on the 
Aventine, besides two temples to Fortune, one to Juno, 
and one to Luna. Servius also dedicated the Campus 
Martius, and enlar2;ed the Mamertine Prison bv addino; a 
subterranean dungeon of impenetrable strength. 

On the assassination of Servius Tullius, b. c. 535, his 
Tarquinius son-in-law, Tarquiuius Superbus, usurped the 
Superbus. power, and did much for the adornment of the 
city. The Capitoline Temple was completed on an arti- 
ficial platform, having a triple row of columns in front, and 
a double row at the sides. It was two hundred feet wide, 
having three cells adjoining one another, the centre appro- 
priated to Jupiter, with Juno and Minerva on either hand. 
The temple had a single roof, and lasted nearly five hun- 
dred years before it was burned down, and rebuilt with 
greater splendor. 

Such were the chief improvements of the city during 
Rome under the kino;ly rulc. Under the consuls the o-rowth 

the early ® *' . i i i it 

consuls. was constant, but was not marked by grand edi- 
fices. Portunus, the conqueror of the Tarquins at Lake 
Regillus, erected a temple to Ceres, Liber, and Libera, at 
the western extremity of the Circus Maximus. Camillus 
founded a celebrated temple to Juno on the Aventine. 
But these, and a few other temples, were destroyed when 
the Gauls held possession of the city. The city was 
rebuilt hastily and without much regard to regularity. 
There was nothing memorable in its architectural monu- 
ments till the time of Appius Claudius, who constructed 
the Via Appia, the first Roman aqueduct. In fact the 
constant wars of the Romans prevented much improve- 
ment in the city till the fall of Tarentum, although the 
ambassadors of Pyrrhus were struck with its grandeur. 
M. Curius Dentatus commenced the aqueduct called Anio 
Vetus B. c. 273, the greater part of which was under 
ground. Its total length was forty-three miles. Q. Fla- 
minius, b. c. 220, between the first and second Punic wars, 



Chap. III.] Rome after the Conquest of G-reece, 105 

constructed the great highway, called after him the Via 
Flaminia — the great northern road of Italy, as the Via 
Appia was the southern. These roads were very Roman 
elahorately built. In constructing them, the earth ^'^^^- 
was excavated till a solid foundation was obtained ; over 
this a layer of loose stones was laid, then another layer 
nine inches thick of rubble-work of broken stones cemented 
with lime, then another layer of broken pottery cemented 
in like manner, over which was a pavement of large 
polygonal blocks of hard stone nicely fitted together. 
Roads thus constructed were exceedingly durable, so that 
portions of them, constructed two thousand years ago, are 
still in a high state of preservation. 

The improvements of Rome were rapid after the con- 
quest of Greece, although destructive fires frequently laid 
large parts of the city in ruins. The deities of the con- 
quered nations were introduced into the Roman worship, 
and temples erected to them. In the beginning Ancient 
of the second century before Christ we notice the ^^s*^^^- 
erection of basilicas, used as courts of law and a sort of 
exchange, the first of which was built by M. Fortius Cato, 
B. c. 184, on the north side of the Forum. It was of an 
oblong form, open to the air, surrounded with columns, at 
one end of which was the tribunal of the judge. The 
Basilica Portia was soon followed by the Basilica Fulvia be- 
hind the Argentariae Novse, which had replaced the butch- 
ers' shops. Fulvius Nobilia further adorned the city with a 
temple of Hercules on the Campus Martius, and Temple of 
brought from Ambrasia, once the residence of ^^^^^''^^s- 
Pyrrhus, two hundred and thirty marble and two hundred 
and eighty-five bronze statues, beside pictures. L. JEmil- 
ius Paulus founded an emporium on the banks of the 
Tiber as a place of landing and sale for goods transported 
by sea, and built a bridge over the Tiber. Sempronius 
Gracchus, the father of the two demagogue patriots, erected 
a third Basilica b. c. 169, on the south side of the Forum 



106 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap, iil 

on the site of the house of Scipio Africanus. The triumph 
of ^miUus Pauhis introduced into the city pictures and 
statues enough to load two hundred and fifty chariots, and 
a vast quantity of gold and silver. Cornelius Octavius, b. c. 
167, built a grand palace on the Palatine, one of the first 
examples of elegant domestic architecture, and erected a 
magnificent double portico with capitals of Coriiithian 
Asiatic bronze. With the growing taste for architectural 

luxuries. display, various Asiatic luxuries were introduced 
— bronze beds, massive sideboards, tables of costly woods, 
cooks, pantomimists, female dancers, and luxurious ban- 
quets. Metellus erected the first marble temple seen in 
Rome, before which he placed the twenty-five bronze stat- 
ues which Lysippus had executed for Alexander the Great. 
The same year that witnessed the triumph of Metellus, 

Sack of ^* ^" -^^^' ^^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ ^'^^ ^^ Carthage and tlie 
Corinth. g^^^ Q^ Corinth by Mummius, so that many of 

the choicest specimens of Grecian art were brought to the 
banks of the Tiber. Among these \vas the celebrated 
picture of Bacchus by Aristides, which was placed in the 
Temple of Bacchus, Ceres, and Proserpine. The Forum 
Adornment uow coutaiucd many gems of Grecian art, among 
Forum. wliich wcrc tlic statucs of Alcibiades and Pythag- 
oras which stood near the comitium, the Three Sibyls 
placed before the rostra, and a picture by Serapion, which 
covered the balconies of the tabernaj on the south side 
of the Forum. 

In the year 144 b. c, Q. Marcius Rex constructed the 
Aqua Aqua Marcia, one of the noblest of the Roman 

Marcia. monumeuts, sixty-two miles in lengtli, seven of 
which were on arches, sufficiently lofty to supply the Capi- 
toline with pure and cold water. Seventeen years after, 
the Aqua Tepula was added to the aqueducts of Rome. 

The first triumphal arch erected to commemorate vic- 
Triumphai toHes was iu the year B. c. 196, by L. Sertinius. 
arches. Scipio Africauus erected another on the Capi- 



Chap. III.] Private Palaces, 107 

toline, and Q. Fablus, B. c. 121, raised another in honor of 
his victories over the Allobroges. This spanned the Via 
Sacra where it entered the Forum, and at that time was 
a conspicuous monument, though vastly inferior to the 
arches of the imperial regime. 

When tranquillity was restored to Rome after the riots 
connected with the murder of the Gracchi, the Temple of 
Senate ordered a Temple of Concord to be built, c«^<^«^<i- 
B. c. 121, in commemoration of the event. This temple 
was on the elevated part of the Vulcanal, and was of con- 
siderable magnitude. It was used for the occasional meet- 
ings of the Senate, and contained many valuable works of 
art. Adjoining this temple, Opimius, the consul, Basmca 
erected the Basilica Opimia, which was used by ^p™'*- 
the silversmiths, who w^ere the bankers and pawnbrokers 
of Rome. The whole quarter on the north side of the 
Forum, where this basilica stood, was the Roman ex- 
chanoe — the focus for all monetary transactions. 

The increasing wealth and luxury of Rome, especially 
caused by the conquest of Asia, led to the erection on the 
Palatine of those magnificent private residences, p^Yate 
which became one of the most strikino; features p^^<^®^- 
of the capital. The first of these historical houses was 
built by M. Livius Drusus, and overlooked the city. It 
afterwards passed into the hands of Crassus, Cicero, and 
Censorinus. Pompey had a house on the Palatine, but 
afterwards transferred his residence to the Casinse, another 
aristocratic quarter. M. ^mihus Lepidus also lived in a 
magnificent palace ; the house of Crassus was still more 
splendid, adorned with columns of marble from Mount 
Hymettus. The house of Catullus excelled even that of 
Crassus. This again was excelled by that of Aquillius on 
the Viminal, which for some time was the most splendid in 
Rome, until LucuUus occupied nearly the whole of the 
Pincian Hill with his gardens and galleries of art, which 
contained some of the chefs cCoeuvre of antiquity. The 



108 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap. m. 

gardens of Servilius, which lay on the dedivity of the 
HouiJes of Aventine, were adorned with Greek statues, ex- 
the nobles, needed in beauty by those of Sallust between the 
Pincian and the Quirinal hills, built with the spoils of 
Numidia, and ultimately the property of the emperors. 
The house of Clodius on the Palatine, near to that of 
Cicero, was one of the finest in Rome, occupied before him 
by Scaurus, Avho gave for it nearly fifteen million ses- 
terces, about $650,000. It was adorned with Greek 
paintings and sculptures. The house of Cicero, which he 
bought of Crassus, cost him $150,000. Its atrium was 
adorned with Greek marble columns thirty-eight feet high. 
Hortensius lived in a house on the Palatine, afterwards 
occupied by Augustus. The residence of his friend Atti- 
cus, on the Quirinal, was more modest, whose chief orna- 
ment was a grove. Pompey surrounded his house with 
gardens and porticos. 

The year 83 B. c. was marked by the destruction by fire 
Destruction ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ Capitoliue Temple, which had with- 
Tng of^the^*^ stood the ravagcs of the Gauls. Sulla aspired to 
Capitol. rebuild it, and caused to be transported to Rome 
for that purpose the column of the Olympian Zeus at 
Athens. It was completed by Caesar, and its roof was 
gilded at an expense of $15,000,000. The pediment was 
adorned with statuary, and near it was a colossal statue 
of Jupiter. 

In the early ages of the republic there were no theatres 
at Rome, theatrical representations being regarded as de- 
moralizing. The regular drama was the last development 
even of Grecian genius. The Roman aristocracy set their 
faces against dramatic entertainments till after the conquest 
of Greece. These plays were introduced and performed 
on temporary stages in the open air, or in wooden build- 
Theatre of i"gs- There was no grand theatre till Pompey 
Pompey. ercctcd ouc of stone, B. C. 55, in the Campus 
Martins, which was capable of holding eighty thousand 



Chap. III.] Improvements of Augustus, 109 

spectators, and it had between its numerous pillars three 
thousand brOnze statues.^ He also erected, behind his 
theatre, a grand portico of one hundred pillars, which be- 
came one of the most fashionable lounging-places of Rome, 
and which was adorned with statues and images. Pompey 
also built various temples. 

His great rival however surpassed him in labors to orna- 
ment the capital. Caesar enlarged the Forum, or rather 
added a new one, the ground of which cost $2,500,000. 
It was called the Forum Julian, and was three ponim 
hundred and forty feet long by two hundred wide, '^"^*"- 
containing a temple of Venus. He did not live, however, 
to carry out his magnificent plans. He contemplated 
building an edifice, for the assembly of the Comitia Tribu- 
ta, of marble, with a portico inclosing a space of a mile 
square, and also the erection of a temple to Mars of un- 
paralleled size and magnificence. He commenced Basilica 
the Basilica Julia and the Curia Julia — vast ^^^' 
buildings, which were completed under the emperors. 

Such were the principal edifices of Rome until the im- 
perial sway. Augustus boasted that he found the city of 
brick and left it of marble. It was not until the Rome under 
emperors embellished the city with amphitheatres, ors. 
theatres, baths, and vast architectural monuments that it 
was really worthy to be regarded as the metropolis of the 
world. The great improvements of Rome in the repub- 
lican period were of a private nature, such as the palaces of 
senatorial families. There were no temples equal to those 
in the Grecian cities either for size, ornament, or beauty. 
Indeed, Rome was never famous for temples, but for edi- 
fices of material utility rather than for the worship of the 
gods ; yet the Romans, under the rule of the aristocracy, 
were more relimous than the Corinthians or Athenians. 

On the destruction of the senatorial or constitutional 
party that had ruled since the expulsion of the kings, and 

1 PUn. H. N., xxxvi. 24. 



110 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap. in. 

probably before, and the peaceful accession of Augustus, 
Works of ^' ^' ^1' ^ great impulse was given to the em- 
Augu8tu8. bellishments of the city. His long reign, his 
severe taste, and his immense resources, — undisputed 
master of one hundred and fifty millions of subjects, — 
enabled him to carry out the designs of Julius, and to 
restore an immense number of monuments falling to decay. 
But Rome was even then deficient in those thinp;s. which 
most attract attention in our modern capitals — the streets 
and squares. The longest street of Rome was scarcely 
three fourths of a mile in length ; but the houses upon it 
were of great altitude. Moreover the streets were narrow 
and dark — scarcely more than fifteen feet in width. But 
they were not encumbered with carriages. Private equi- 
pages, which form one of the most imposing features of 
a modern city, were unknown. There was nothing at- 
tractive in a Roman street, dark, narrow, and dirty, with 
but few vehicles, and with dingy shops, like those of Paris 
in the Middle Ages. The sun scarcely ever penetrated 
to them. They were damp and cold. The greater part 
of the city belonged to wealthy and selfish capitalists, 
like Crassus, who thought more of their gains than the 
health or beauty of the city. The Subura, the 
Sub Velia, and the Velabrum, built in the val- 
leys, were choked up with tall houses, frequently more, 
and seldom less, than seventy feet in height. The hills 
alone were covered with aristocratic residences, temples, 
and public monuments. The only open space, where the 
poor people could get fresh air and extensive prospect, wa? 
Forum Ro- ^^^^ Circus Maximus and the Forum Romanum. 
manum. 'pj^g former was three fourths of a mile in length 
and one eighth in breadth, surrounded with a double row 
of benches, the lower of stone and the upper of wood, 
and would seat two hundred and eighty-five thousand 
spectators. The Forum was the centre of architectural 
splendor, as well as of life and business. Its original site 



Chap. III.] Productions and Roads. Ill 

extended from the eastern part of the Capitohne to tlie 
spot where the Veha begins to ascend, and was bounded 
on the south by the Via Sacra, which extended to the arx 
or citadeL It was that consecrated street by which the 
augurs descended when they inaugurated the great festi- 
vals of the repubhc, and in which Hved the Pontifex 
Maximus. Although the Forum Romanum was only 
seven hundred feet by four hundred and seventy, yet it 
was surrounded by and connected with basilicas, halls, por- 
ticoes, temples, and shops. It was a place of great public 
resort for all classes of people — a scene of life j^g magnm- 
and splendor rarely if ever equaled, and having ^^^^^ 
some resemblance to the crowded square of Venice on 
which St. Mark's stands. Originally it was a market- 
place, busy and lively, a great resort where might be seen 
"good men walking quietly by themselves," ^ " flash men 
strutting about without a denarius in their purses," "gour- 
mands clubbing for a dinner,'* " scandal-mongers living in 
glass houses," " perjured witnesses, liars, braggarts, rich 
and erring husbands, worn-out harlots," and all the various 
classes which now appear in the crowded places of London 
or Paris. In this open space the people were assembled 
on great public occasions, and here they were addressed 
by orators and tribunes. Immediately surround- surrounding 
ing the Forum Romanum, or in close proximity '^"i^'^^^ss. 
to it, were the most important public buildings of the city 
in which business was transacted — the courts of law, the 
administrative bureaus, the senate chamber and the prin- 
cipal temples, as well as monuments and shops. On the 
north side was the Comitium, an open space for holding 
the Comitia Curiata and heavy lawsuits, and making 
speeches to the assembled people. During the kingly 
government the temples of Janus and Vesta and Saturn 
were erected, also the Curia Hostilia, a senate-house, the 
Senaculum, the Mamertine Prison, and the Tabernae or 

1 Plautus Cuve, iv. 1. 



112 The Wonders of Ancient Rome. [Chap. in. 

porticoes and shops inclosing the Forum. During the 
Temple of repubHc the temple of Castor and Pollux, which 
Pollux. served for the assembly of the Senate and judi- 

cial business, was erected, not of the largest size, but very 
rich and beautiful. The Basilica Portia, where tlie trib- 
unes of the people held their assemblies, w"as founded by 
Cato the Censor, and this was followed by the Basilica 
Fulvia, with columns of Phrygian marble, admired by 
•Pliny for its magnificence, the Basilica Sempronia, the 
Temple of Concord, and the Triumphal Arch of Fabius, 
to commemorate his victories over the Allobroges. Under 
BasiUca ^^^ empire, the magnificent Basilica Julia was 
Juua. erected for the sittings of the law^ courts, and its 

immense size may be inferred from the fact that one hun- 
dred and eighty judges, divided into four courts, with four 
separate tribunals, with seats for advocates and spectators, 
Avere accustomed to assemble. Tiberius erected a trium- 
phal arch near the Temple of Saturn. Domitian built 
the Temple of Vespasian and Titus, and erected to him- 
self a colossal equestrian statue. Near it rose the temples 
of Divus- Julius and of Antoninus and Faustina. Beside 
Arch of Sep- thcse wcrc tlic THumphal Arch of Septimius 
rus,and Severus, still standing ; the Columns of Phocas 
Trajan. aud Trajau, the latter of which is the finest 

monument of its kind in the w^orld, one hundred and 
twenty-seven feet high, with a spiral band of admirable 
reliefs containing two thousand five hundred human fig- 
ures. Beside these, new fora of immense size were con- 
Forum structed by various emperors, not for political 
juhum. business so much as courts of justice. The Forum 
Julium, which connected with the old Forum Romanum, 
w^as virtually a temple of great magnificence. In front 
of it was the celebrated bronze horse of Lysippus, and the 
temple was enriched with precious offerings and adorned 
Forum with pictures from the best Greek artists. It was 
Augusti. devoted to legal business. The Forum Aumisti 



Chap. III.] The Attractions of the Formyi. 113 

was still larger, and also inclosed a temple, in which the 
Senate assembled to consult about wars and triumphs, and 
was surrounded with porticoes in which the statues of the 
most eminent Roman generals were placed, while on each 
side were the triumphal arches of Germanicus and Drusus. 
More extensive and magnificent than either of the old fora 
was the one which Trajan erected, in the centre porumof 
of which was the celebrated column of the em- ^^^J'^^- 
peror, so universally admired, while the sides were orna- 
mented with a double colonnade of gray Egyptian marble, 
the columns of which were fifty-five feet in height. This 
was one of the most gigantic structures in Rome, covering 
more ground than the Flavian Amphitheatre, and built by 
the celebrated Apollodorus of Damascus. It filled the 
whole space between the Capitoline and Quirinal. The 
Basilica Ulpia was only one division of this Basilica 
vast edifice, divided internally by four rows of ^^^^*' 
columns of gray granite, and paved with slabs of marble. 

Nothing in Rome, or perhaps any modern city, exceeded 
the glory and beauty of the Forum, with the Beauty of 
adjoining basilica, and other public buildings, rorum. 
filled with statues and pictures, and crowded with people. 
The more aristocratic loungers sought the retired prome- 
nade afforded by the porticoes near the Circus Flaminius, 
where the noise and clamor of the crowded streets, the 
cries of venders, the sports of boys, and the curses of wag- 
oners, could not reach them. The Forum was the peculiar 
glory of the republican period, where the Gracchi enlight- 
ened the people on their political rights, where Cato calmed 
the passions of the mob, where Cicero and Hortensius 
delivered their mamiificent harano;ues. 

The glory of the Augustan age was more seen in the 
magnificent buildings which arose upon the hills, works of 
although he gave attention to the completion of ^"g^^stus. 
many works of utility or beauty in other parts of the city. 

He restored the Capitoline temple and the theatre of Pom- 
8 



114 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap. hi. 

pey ; repaired aqueducts ; finished the Forum and Basili- 
ca Juha ; and entirely built the Curia Julia. He founded, 
on the Palatine, the Imperial Palace, afterwards enlarged 
by his successors until it entirely covered the original city 
of Romulus. Among the most beautiful of his works was 
Temple of ^^^^ Temple of Apollo, the columns of which 
Apollo. were of African marble, between wliich were the 

statues of the fifty Danaids. In the temple was a mag- 
nificent statue of Apollo, and around the altar were the 
images of four oxen — the work of Miron, so beautifully 
sculptured that they seemed alive. The temple was of the 
finest marble ; its gates were of ivory, finely sculptured. 
Attached to this temple was a library, where the poets, 
orators, and philosophers assembled, and recited their ])ro- 
ductions. The Forum Augusti was another of the noblest 
monuments of this emperor, in order to provide accommo- 
dation for the crowds which overflowed the Forum Ro- 
Theatreof manum. Hc also built tlic theatre of Marccllus, 
MarceUus. capable of holding twenty thousand spectators. 

Nor was Augustus alone the patron of the arts. His 

son-in-law% and prime minister, Agrippa, adorned the city 

with many noble structures, of which tlie Pan- 

Pantheon. , . , . .„ ^rd • 

theon remams to attest his mumncence. ihis 
temple, the best preserved of all tlie monuments of ancient 
splendor, stood in the centre of the Campus Martins, and 
contained only the images of the deities immediately con- 
nected w^ith the Julian race and the early history of Rome. 
Agrippa was the first to establish those famous batlis, 
which became the most splendid nionuments of imperial 
Therma; munificcnce. The Thermae Agri})pje stood at 
Agrippae. ^j^^ j^^^.j^ ^f ^|^g Panthcou. It was fed by the 

Aqua Virgo, an aqueduct which Agrippa purposely con- 
structed to furnish water for his batlis. Many other archi- 
tectural monuments marked the public spirit of this en- 
Campus lightened and liberal minister, especially in the 
iiartms. quarter of the Circus Flaminius and the Campus 



Chap. Ill,] Mausoleum of Augustus. 116 

Martlus. Tills quarter was like a separate town, more 
magnificent than any part of the ancient city. It was 
adorned with temples, porticoes, and theatres, and other 
buildino-s devoted to amusement and recreation. It had 
not many private houses, but these were of remarkable 
splendor. Other courtiers of Augustus followed his ex- 
ample for the embellishment of the city. Statilius Tau- 
rus buih the first permanent amphitheatre of ^orksofthe 
stone in the Campus Martins. L. Cornelius ^°^^^^- 
Balbar built at his own expense a stone theatre. L. Mar- 
cius Philippus rebuilt the temple of Hercules Musarum, 
and surrounded it with a portico. L. Cornificius built a 
temple of Diana. Asininius PoUio an Atrium Libertatis ; 
and Munatius Plaucus a temple of Saturn. Maecenas, 
who lived upon the Esquiline, converted the Campus 
Esquilinus, near the Subura, a pauper burial-ground of- 
fensive to both sight and health, into beautiful gardens,- 
called the Horti Msecenatis. 

Nunc licet esquiliis habitare salubribus atque, 
Aggere in Aprico Spatiari, quo modo tristes. 
Albis informem spectabant ossibus agrum.i 

Near these gardens Virgil lived, also Propertius, and prob- 
ably Horace. The Esquiline, once a plebeian quarter, 
seems to have been selected by the literary men, who 
sought the favor of Maecenas, for their abode. Ovid 
lived near the capitol, at the southern extremity of the 
Quirinal. 

Among the other buildings which Augustus erected, 
should not be omitted the magnificent Mauso- Mausoleum 
leum, or the tomb of the imperial family at the of Augustus, 
northern part of the Campus Martins, near which lay the 
remains of Sulla and of Caesar, and which remained the 
burial-place of his family down to the time of Hadrian.^ 

1 Horace, Sat i. 8. 

2 " This enduring structure, which survived the conflagrations, the wars, and 
the anarchies of fifteen hundred years, consisted of a large tumu- 
lus of earth, raised on a lofty basement of white marble, and of Au"-U£itus. 
covered on the summit with evergreens in the manner of a hang- 



116 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap. hi. 

He also brought from Egypt the obelisk which now stands 
on Mount Citorio, and which was placed in that receptacle 
for monuments — the Campus Martins. 

Tiberius did but little for the improvement of his capital 
beyond erecting a triumphal arch, in commemoration of 
the exploits of Germanicus, on the Via Sacra, and estab- 
lishing the Praetorian Camp near the Servian Agger. 
Imperial Caligula extended the imperial palace, and 

palace. beo^au the Circus Neronis in the gardens of 

Agrippa, near where St. Peter's now stands. 

Claudius constructed the two noble aqueducts, the Aqua 
ciaudian Claudia and Arno Novis, — the longest of all 
aqueduct. thcsc magnificent Roman monuments, — the lat- 
ter of which was fifty-nine miles in length, and some of 
its arches were one hundred and nine feet in height. 

Nero still further extended the precincts of the imperial 
palace, and included the Esquiline. The great fire which 
occurred in his reign, a. d. Qk>^ and which lasted six days 
and seven nights, destroyed some of the most ancient of 
the Roman structures surrounding the Palatine, and very 
much damaged the Forum, to say nothing of the statues 
and treasures which perished. But the city soon arose 
from her ashes more beautiful than before. The streets 
were laid out on a more regular plan and made wider, 

ing garden. On the summit was a bronze statue of Augustus himself, and 
beneath the tumulus was a large central hall, round which ran a range of four- 
teen sepulchral chambers, opening into this common vestibule. At the en- 
trance were two Egyptian obelisks, fifty feet in height, and all around was an 
Those who extensive grove divided into wallcs and terraces. The young Mar- 
were buried cellus, whose fate was bewailed by Virgil, was its first occupant. 
"^'** Here was placed Octavia, the neglected wife of Antony, and 

Agrippa, the builder of the Parthenon, and Livia, the beloved wife of Augustus, 
and beside them the first imperator himself. Here were the poisoned ashes 
of the noble Germanicus, borne from Syria; here the young Prusus, the pride 
of the Ciaudian family, and at his side the second Drusus, the son of Tiberius. 
Here reposed the dust of Agrippina, after years of exile, by Ihe side of her hus- 
band, Germanicus; here Nero and his mother, Agrippina, and his victim, 
Britannicus; here Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and all the other Cajsars to 
Nerva. Then the marble door was closed, for the sepulchral cells were full." — 
Stor>''8 Roba di Roma. 



Chap. III.] Temple of Peace. 117 

the houses were built lower, and brick was substituted for 
wood. 

The great work of Nero was the construction of the 
Imperial Palace on the site of the buildings The imperial 
which had been destroyed by the fire. He gave ^'^^^'^®- 
to it the name of Aurea Domus, and, if we may credit 
Suetonius,^ its richness and splendor surpassed any other 
similar edifice in ancient times. It fronted the Forum 
and Capitol, and in its vestibule stood a colossal statue of 
the emperor, one hundred and twenty feet high. The 
palace was surrounded by three porticoes, each one thou- 
sand feet in length. The back front of the palace looked 
upon the artificial lake, afterwards occupied by the Fla- 
vian Amphitheatre. Within the area were gardens and 
vineyards. It was entirely overlaid with gold, and adorned 
with jewels and mother-of-pearl. The supper rooms were 
vaulted, and the compartments of the ceiling, inlaid with 
ivory, were made to revolve and scatter flowers upon the 
banqueters below. The chief banqueting-room was cir- 
cular, and perpetually revolved in imitation of the motion 
of the celestial bodies. There are scarcely no remains of 
this extensive palace, which engrossed so large a part of 
the city, and which covered the site of so many famous 
temples and palaces, and which exhausted even the impe- 
rial revenues, great as they were, even as Versailles taxed 
the magnificent resources of Louis XIV., and St. Peter's 
obliged the Popes to appeal to the contributions of Christ- 
endom. 

The next great edifice which added to the architectural 
wonders of the city, was the temple built by Vespasian 
after the destruction of Jerusalem, which he Temple of 
called the Temple of Peace. It was adorned ^^^"^" 
with the richest sculptures and paintings of Greece, taken 
from Nero's palace, which Vespasian demolished as a 
monument of insane extravagance. In this temple were 

1 Suet. JVer., ai. 



118 The Wonders of Ancient Rome. [Chap. m. 

deposited also the Jewish spoils, except the laws and veil 
of the temple. 

But the great work of this emperor, and the greatest 
Flavian Am- architectural wonder of the world, was the am- 
phitheatre. phithcatre wliicli he built on the ground covered 
by Nero's lake, in the middle of the city, between the 
Velia and the Esquiline. For magnitude it can only be 
compared with the pyramids of Egypt, and its remains are 
the most striking monument we have of the material 
TheCoios- greatness of the Romans. Though not the first 
^^™' of the amphitheatres which were erected, its 

enormous size rendered the erection of subsequent ones 
unnecessary. It was here that emperors, senators, gen- 
erals, knights, and people, met together to witness the 
most exciting and sanguinary amusements ever seen in 
the world. It was built in the middle of the city, with a 
perfect recklessness of expense, and could accommodate 
eighty-seven thousand spectators, round an arena large 
enough for the combats of several hundred animals at a 
time. It was a building of an elliptical form, founded on 
eighty arches, and rising to the height of one hundred and 
forty feet, with four successive orders of architecture, six 
hundred and twenty feet by five hundred and thirteen, 
inclosing six acres. It was built of travertine, faced with 
marble, and decorated with statues. The eighty arches 
of the lower story formed entrances for the spectators. 
The seats were of marble covered with cushions. The 
spectators were protected from the sun and rain by ample 
canopies, while the air was refreshed by scented fountains. 
The nets designed as a protection from the wild beasts 
were made of golden wire. The porticoes were gilded ; the 
circle which divided the several ranks of spectators was 
studded with a precious mosaic of beautiful stones. The 
arena was strewed with the finest sand, and assumed, at 
different times, the most different forms. Subterranean 
pipes conveyed water into the arena. The furniture of 



Chap. III.] Works of Trajan, 119 

the amphitheatre consisted of gold, silver, and amber. 
The passages of ingress and egress were so numerous that 
the spectators could go in and out without confusion. 
Only a third part of this wonderful structure remains, and 
whole palaces have been built of its spoils.^ 

Another great fire which took place a. d. 80, — the 
same in which Titus dedicated the Colosseum, — and 
which raged three days and nights, destroyed the region 
of the Circus Flaminius, including some of the finest tem- 
ples of the city, and especially on the Capitoline, and 
created the necessity for new improvements. These were 
made by Domitian, who rebuilt the Capitol itself Rebuilding 
with greater splendor on its old site, and erected Capitoi. 
several new edifices. Mal'tial speaks with peculiar admira- 
tion of the Temple of the Gens Flavia.^ He also erected 
that beautiful arch to his brother Titus which ^rchof 
still remains one of the finest monuments of the ^^*"^* 
imperial city. The Odeum, a roofed theatre, was erected 
by him, capable of holding twelve thousand people. He 
also made many additions to his palace on the Palatine 
— so lofty, that Martial, his flatterer, described it as tow- 
ering above the clouds, and Statins compared the ceiling 
to the cope of heaven. 

No great improvements were made in the city until 
Trajan commenced his beneficent and splendid reign. 
His greatest work was the Forum which bears jorum Tra- 
ins name, to which allusion has been made, eleven J^"'^- 
hundred feet long, in the centre of which was that beau- 
tiful pillar, one hundred and twenty-eight feet high, w^iich 
is still standing. The Forum, the Basilica Ul- Basilica 
pia, and the temple dedicated by Hadrian to ^^p'*- 
Trajan, were all parts of this magnificent structure, one of 
the most imposing ever built, filled with colossal statues 
and surrounded with colonnades. 

, 1 Dj'er, Hist of the City of Rome, p. 245. Gibbon, chap. 12. Montaigne, 
£ssays^ iii. 6. Lipsius, de Amphitheatro. 
a Martial, L., ix. Ep. 4, 35. 



120 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap. in. 

None of the Roman emperors had so great a passion 
for building as Hadrian, who succeeded Trajan a. p. 117. 
He erected a vast number of edifices, and in his reign 
Rome attained its greatest height of architectural splendor. 
The most remarkable amono; the edifices which he built 
Temple of was the Temple of Venus and Rome, facing on 
Rome. one Side the Colosseum, and the other the Fo- 

rum, on the site of the Atrium, or the golden house of 
Nero. This seems to have been one of the largest of the 
Roman temples, erected on an artificial terrace live hun- 
dred feet long and three hundred broad. It was surrounded 
with a portico four hundred feet by two hundred, and an- 
other portico of four hundred columns inclosed the terrace 
on which the temple was built, the columns of which were 
forty feet in height. The roof was covered with bronze 
tiles. Ammianus Marcellinus classes this magnificent 
temple with the Capitoline Temple, the Flavian Amphi- 
theatre, and the Pantheon. The next greatest work of 
Mausoleum HadHau was the Mausoleum, which is now con- 
of Hadrian, ygi-^ed iuto the Castlc of St. Angelo, built on a 
platform of which each side was two hundred and fifty- 
three feet in lenoth. From the magnificent colonnade 
which supported the platform on which it was built, and 
the successive stories supported by arches and pillars, be- 
tween which were celebrated statues, this circular edifice, 
one hundred and eighty-eio-ht feet in diameter, must have 
been one of the most imposing edifices in the city. After 
eighteen centuries, it still remains a monument of archi- 
tectural strength, and it served for one of the strongest 
fortresses in Italy during the Middle Ages. I pass by, 
Hadrian's ^vitliout iioticc, the villa tliis emperor erected 
^^'^' at Tivoli, the ruins of which are among the most 

interesting which remain of that great age. 

Under Hadrian Rome attained its greatest splendor, 
and after him, there was a progressive decline in the arts, 
since the public taste was corrupted. Still successive em- 



Chap. III.] WorJcs of Caracalla. 121 

perors continued to adorn the city. Marcus Coiumu of 

A ,. 1 . T , n ^^ ^ Marcus Au- 

Aurehus, the wisest and best ot all the emperors, reiius. 
erected a cokimn similar to that of Trajan, to re])rcsent 
his wars with the Germanic tribes, and this still remains ; 
he also built a triumphal arch. Septimius Sev- Aroh of 
erus erected the most beautiiul ot the tnumphal Severus. 
arches, of which the Arc de Triumph in Paris is an imita- 
tion ; and Caracalla built one of the greatest of the Baths of 
Roman baths, which, with the porticoes which ^^'■'^^^^*- 
surrounded it, formed a square of eleven hundred feet on 
each side — so enormous were these structures of luxury 
and utility, designed not only for the people as a sanitary 
measure, but for places of gymnastic exercises, popular 
lectures, and the disputations of philosophers. The Pan- 
theon was merely an entrance to the baths of Agrippa. 
The baths of Trajan covered an area nearly as great. But 
those of Caracalla surpassed them all in magnificence. 
Nothing was more striking to a traveler than the painted 
corridors, the arched ceilings, the variegated columns, the 
elaborate mosaic pavements, the immortal statues, and the 
exquisite paintings which ornamented these places of lux- 
ury and pleasure. From amid their ruins have been dug 
out the most priceless of the statues which ornament the 
museums of Italy — the Farnese Hercules, the colossal 
Florae, the Torso Farnese, the Torso Belvidere, the Atreus 
and Thyestes, the Laocoon, beside granite and basaltic 
vases beautifully polished, cameos, bronzes, medals, and 
other valuable relics of ancient art. To supply these 
baths new aqueducts were built, and the treasures of the 
empire expended. Those subsequently erected by Dio- 
cletian contained three thousand two hundred marble 
seats, and the main hall now forms one of the most splen- 
did of the Roman churches. 

Such is a brief view of the progress of those architect- 
ural wonders which made Rome the most magnificent city 
of antiquity, and perhaps the grandest, in its public mon- 



122 The Wonders of Ancient Rome. [Chap. in. 

uments, of any city in ancient or modern times. What 
a concentration of works of art on the hills, and around 
the Forum, and in the Campus Martins, and other cele- 
Tempiesand hrated quartcrs ! There were temples rivaling 
Palaces. those of Athcus and Ephesus ; hatlis covering 
more ground than the Pyramids, surrounded with Corin- 
thian columns and filled with the choicest treasures, ran- 
sacked from the cities of Greece and Asia ; palaces in 
comparison with which the Tuileries and Versailles are 
small ; theatres which seated more people than any pres- 
ent public buildings in Europe ; amphitheatres more ex- 
tensive and costly than Cologne, Milan, and York Min- 
ster cathedrals combined, and seating eight times as many 
people as could be crowded into St. Peter's Church ; 
circuses where, it is said, three hundred and eighty-five 
thousand spectators could witness the games and chariot- 
races at a time ; bridges, still standing, which have fur- 
nished models for the most beautiful at Paris and London ; 
aqueducts carried over arches one hundred feet in 
height, through which flowed the surplus water of distant 
lakes ; drains of solid masonry in which large boats could 
float ; pillars more than one hundred feet in height, coated 
with precious marbles or plates of brass, and covered with 
bass-reliefs ; obelisks brought from Egypt ; fora and ba- 
silicse connected together, and extending more than three 
thousand feet in length, every part of which was filled 
with " animated busts " of conquerors, kings, and states- 
men, poets, publicists, and philosophers ; mausoleums 
greater and more splendid than that Artemisia erected to 
the memory of her husband ; triumphal arches under 
which marched In stately procession the victorious armies 
of the Eternal City, preceded by the spoils and trophies of 
General conquercd empires, — such was the proud cap 

aapect of the ^ ^ . p , . i p , , 

city- ital — a city ot palaces, a residence ot nobles 

who were virtually kings, enriched with the accumulated 
treasures of ancient civilization. Great were the capitals 



Chap. III.] CrloTies of Rome, 123 

of Greece and Asia, but how preeminent was Rome, 
since all were subordinate to her. How bewildering and 
bewitchino' to a traveler must have been the varied won- 
ders of the city ! Go where he would, his eye rested on 
something which was both a study and a marvel. Let him 
drive or walk about tlie suburbs, there were villas, ^i^^ta 
tombs, aqueducts looking like railroads on arches, wouid*^Leia 
sculptured monuments, and gardens of surpassing ^ ^^ 
beauty and luxury. Let him approach the walls — they 
were great fortifications extending twenty-one miles in cir- 
cuit, according to the measurement of Ammon as adopted 
by Gibbon, and forty-five miles according to other author- 
ities. Let him enter any of the various gates which opened 
into the city from the roads which radiated to all parts of 
Italy — they were of monumental brass covered with bass- 
reliefs, on which the victories of generals for a thousand 
years were commemorated. Let him pass up the Via 
Appia, or the Via Flaminia, or the Via Cabra — they were 
lined with temples and shops and palaces. Let him pass 
through any of the crowded thorouglifares, he saw houses 
towering scarcely ever less than seventy feet — as tall as 
those of Edinburgh in its oldest sections. Let him pass 
through the varied quarters of the city, or wards as we 
should now call them, he finds some fourteen regions, as 
constituted by Augustus, all marked by architectural monu- 
ments, and containing, according to Lipslus, a population 
larger than London or Paris, guarded and watched by a 
police of ten thousand armed men. Most of the houses 
in which this vast population lived, according to Strabo, 
possessed pipes which gave a never-failing supply of water 
from the rivers which flowed into the city through the 
aqueducts and out again through the sewers into the 
Tiber. Let him walk up the Via Sacra — that i^^^^}-^ 
short street, scarcely half a mile in length — and ^^^^^' 
he passes the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Temple of Venus 
and Rome, the Arch of Titus, the temples of Peace, of 



124 The Wonders of Ancient Rome. [Chap. hi. 

Vesta, and of Castor, the Forum Romanum, the Basilica 
JuHa, the Arch of Severus, and the Temple of Saturn, 
and stands before the majestic ascent to the Capitoline 
Jupiter, with its magnificent portico and ornamented ped- 
iment, surpassing the facade of any modern church. On 
his left, as he emerges from beneath the sculptured Arch 
of Titus, is the Palatine Mount, nearly covered by the 
palace of the Csesars, the magnificent residences of the 
higher nobility, and various temples, of which that of 
Apollo was the most magnificent, built by Augustus of 
solid white marble from Luna. Here were the palaces 
of Vaccus, of Flaccus, of Cicero, of Catiline, of Scaurus, 
of Antonius, of Clodius, of Agrippa, and of Hortensius. 
Still on his left, in the valley between the Palatine and the 
Capitoline, though he cannot see it, concealed from view 
by the great temples of Vesta and of Castor, and the still 
greater edifice known as the Basilica Julia, is the quarter 
The Vela- Called the Velabrum, extending to the river, 
brum. where the Pons JEmilius crosses it — a low 

quarter of narrow streets and tall houses where the rabble 
lived and died. On his right, concealed from view by 
the jiEdes Divi Julii and the Forum Romanum, is that 
magnificent series of edifices extending from the Temple 
of Peace to the Temple of Trajan, including the Basilica 
Pauli, the Forum Julii, the Forum Augusti, 

TheFora. rr< • • i n •!• tti • 

tlie rorum irajani, the l3asilica Uipia, more 
than three thousand feet in length and six hundred in 
breadth, almost entirely surrounded by porticoes and col- 
onnades, and filled with statues and pictures — on the 
whole the grandest series of public buildings clustered 
together j)robably ever erected, especially if we take in 
the Forum Romanum and the various temples and basilicas 
which connected the whole together — a forest of marble 
pillars and statues. He ascends the steps which lead from 
the Tem})le of Concord to the Temple of Juno Moneta 
upon the Arx or Tarpeian Rock, on the southwestern sum- 



Chap. III.] Glories of Rome. 125 

mit of the hill, itself one of the most beautiful temples in 
Rome, erected by Camillus on the spot where the house 
of M. Manlius Capitolinus had stood. Here is established 
the Roman mint. Near this is the temple erected bj 
Augustus to Jupiter Tonans and that built by Domitian 
to Jupiter Gustos. But all the sacred edifices which 
crown the Capitoline are subordinate to the Templum 
Jovis Capitolini, standing on a platform of eight thousand 
square feet, and built of the richest materials. The por- 
tico which faces the Via Sacra consists of three rows of 
Doric columns, the pediment is profusely ornamented 
with the choicest sculptures, the apex of the roof is sur- 
mounted by the bronze horses of Lysippus, and the roof 
itself is covered with gilded tiles. The temple has three 
separate cells, though covered with one roof; in front of 
each stand colossal statues of the three deities to whom it 
is consecrated. Here are preserved what was most sacred 
in the eyes of Romans, and it is itself the richest of all the 
temples of the city. What a beautiful panorama view from 
is presented to the view from the summit of this of^thJ^capi- 
consecrated hill, only mounted by a steep ascent toi»"®Hiii. 
of one hundred steps. To the south is the Via Sacra ex- 
tending to the Colosseum, and beyond it is the Appia Via, 
lined with monuments as far as the eye can reach. Little 
beyond the fora to the east is the Carinae, a fashionable 
quarter of beautiful shops and houses, and still further 
off are the Baths of Titus, extending from the Carinae 
to the Esquiline Mount. This hill, once a burial-ground, 
is now covered with the house and gardens of Maecenas, 
and of the poets whom he patronized. It is not rich in 
temples, but its gardens and groves are beautiful. To 
the northeast are the Viminal and Quirinal hills, after 
the Palatine the most ancient part of the city — the 
seat of the Sabine population. Abounding in fanes and 
temples, the most splendid of which is the Temple of 
Quirinus, erected originally to Romulus by Numa, but 



126 The Wo7iders of Ancient Rome. [Chat, hi, 

rebuilt by Augustus, with a double row of columns on 
each of its sides, seventy-six in number. Near by was 
the house of Atticus, and the gardens of Sallust in the 
valley between the Quirinal and Pincian, afterwards the 
property of the emperor. Far back on the Quirinal, near 
the wall of Servius, were the Baths of Diocletian, and still 
further to the east the Pretorian Camp established by 
Tiberius, and included within the wall of Aurelian. To 
Gardens of ^^^^ uorthcast the cyc lights on the Pincian Hill 
Lucuiius. covered by the gardens of Lucullus, to possess 
which Messalina caused the death of Valerius Asiaticus, 
into whose possession they had fallen. In the valley which 
lay between the fora and the Quirinal was the celebrated 
Subura, — the quarter of shops, markets, and 

The Subura. / . \ 

artmcers, — a busy, noisy, vulgar section, not 
beautiful, but full of life and enterprise and wickedness. 
The eye now turns to the north, and the whole length 
of the Via Flaminia is exposed to view, extending from 
the Capitoline to the Flaminian gate, perfectly straight, 
the finest street in Rome, and parallel to the modern 
Corso. It is the great highway to the north of Italy. 
Monuments and temples and palaces line this celebrated 
street. It is spanned by the triumphal arches of Claudius 
and Marcus Aurelius. To the west of it is the Campus 
Martins, with its innumerable objects of interest, — the 
Baths of Agrippa, the Pantheon, the Therma) Alexan- 
drinai, the Column of Marcus Aurelius, and the Mauso- 
leum of Augustus. Beneath the Capitoline on the west, 
toward the river, is the Circus Flaminius, the Portico of 
Octavius, the TJicatre of Balbui;., and the Theatre of 
Pompey, where forty thousand spectators were accommo- 
dated. Stretching beyond the Theima} Alexandrinae, near 
the Pantheon, is the magnificent bridge which crosses the 
Tiber, built by ITar?rian when he founded his Mausoleum, 
to wliich it leads, still standing under the name of the 
Ponte S. Angelo. The eye takes in eight or nine bridges 



Chap. III.] Glories of Rome, 127 

over the Tiber, some of wood, but generally of stone, of 
beautiful masonry, and crowned with statues. At the foot 
of the Capitoline, toward the southwest, are the Portico 
of Octavius and the Theatre of Marcellus, near the Pons 
Cestius. Still further southwest, between the Capitoline 
and the Aventine, in a low valley, are the Velabrum and 
the Forum Boarium, once a marsh, but now rich in tem- 
ples and monuments, among which are those of Hercules 
Fortuna and Mater Matuta. There are no less than four 
temples consecrated to Hercules in the Forum Boarium, 
one of the most celebrated places in Rome, devoted to trade 
and commerce. Beyond still, in the valley between the 
Palatine and the Aventine, is the great Circus ^-^^^^^ 
Maxim us, founded by the, early Tarquin. It is ^^^^"^'^s- 
the largest open space inclosed by walls and porticoes in 
the city. It seats three hundred and eighty-five thousand 
people. How vast a city, which can spare nearly four 
hundred thousand of its population to see the chariot- 
races ! Beyond is the Aventine itself. This also is rich 
in legendary monuments and in the palaces of the great, 
though originally a plebeian quarter. Here dwelt Trajan, 
before he was emperor, and Ennius the poet, and Paula, 
the friend of St. Jerome. Beneath the Aventine, and a 
little south of the Circus Maxim us, west of the Appian 
Way, are the great baths of Caracalla, the ruins of which, 
next to those of the Colosseum, made on my mind the 
strongest impression of any thing that pertains to antiquity, 
though these were not so large as those of Diocletian. 
The view south takes in the Ca^lian Hill, the view of 

• 1 p rn n TT •!• mi Rome from 

ancient residence oi iuUus Hostilius. The theCapitoi. 
beautiful Temple of Divus Claudius, the Arch of Dola- 
bella, the Macellum Magnum, — a market founded by 
Nero, — the Castra Peregrina, the Temple of Isis, the Cam- 
pus Martialis, are among the most conspicuous objects of 
interest. This hill is the residence of many distinguished 
Romans. It is covered with palaces. Among them is the 



128 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap. hi. 

house of Claudius Centumalus — so hio-h, that the auorurs 
command him to lower it. It towers ten or twelve stories 
hito the air. Scarcely inferior in size is the house of Ma- 
mura, whose splendor is described by Pliny. Here also is 
the house of Annius Verus, the father of Marcus Aure- 
lius, surrounded with gardens. But grander than any of 
these palaces is that of Plautius Lateranus, the egregicB 
Lateranorum cedes^ which became imperial property in the 
time of Nero, and on whose site stands the basilica of St. 
John Lateran, — the gift of Constantino to the bishop of 
Rome, — one of the most ancient of the Christian 
churches, in which, for fifteen hundred years, daily ser- 
vices have been performed. 

Such are the objects of interest and grandeur which 
strike the eye as it is turned toward the various quarters 
of the city. But tliese are only the more important. The 
seven hills, appearing considerably higher than at tlie pres- 
ent day, as the valleys are raised fifteen or twenty feet 
above their ancient level, are covered with temples, pal- 
aces, and gardens ; the valleys are densely crowded with 
shops, houses, baths, and theatres. The houses rise fre- 
quently to the tenth platform or story. The suburban 
population, beyond the Avails, is probably greater than that 
within. The city, virtually, contains between 
three and four millions of people. Lipsius esti- 
mates four millions as the population, includmg slaves, 
women, children, and strangers. Though this estimate is 
regarded as too large by Merivale and others, yet how 
enormous must have been the number of the people when 
there weie nine thousand and twenty-five baths, and when 
those of Diocletian could accommodate three thousand two 
hundred people at a time. The wooden theatre of Scaurus 
contained eighty thousand seats; that of Marcellus would 
seat twenty thousand ; the Colosseum would seat eighty- 
seven thousand, and give standing space for twenty-two 
thousand more. The Circus Maximus would hold three 



Chap. III.] Population of Rome, 129 

hundred and eighty-five thousand spectators. If only one 
person out of four of the free population witnessed the 
games and spectacles at a time, we thus must have four 
millions of people altogether in the city. The Aurelian 
walls are now only thirteen miles in circumference, but 
Lipsius estimates the circumference at forty-five miles, and 
Vopiscus nearly fifty. The diameter of the city must have 
been eleven miles, since Strabo tells us that the actual limit 
of Rome was at a place between the fifth and sixth mile- 
stone from the column of Trajan in the Forum — the cen- 
tral and most conspicuous object in the city except the 
Capitol.^ Even in the sixth century, after Rome had been 
sacked and plundered by Goths and Vandals, Zacharia, a 
traveler, asserts that there were three hundred and eighty- 
four spacious streets, eighty golden statues of the gods ; 
sixty-six large ivory statues of the gods ; forty-six thousand 
six hundred and three houses ; seventeen thou- Number of 
sand and ninety-seven palaces ; thirteen thousand ^^"^®^- 
and fifty-two fountains ; three thousand seven hundred 
and eighty-five bronze statues of emperors and generals ; 
twenty-two great horses in bronze ; two colossi ; two spiral 
columns ; thirty-one theatres ; eleven amphitheatres ; nine 
thousand and twenty-six baths ; two thousand three hun- 
dred shops of perfumers ; two thousand and ninety-one 
prisons.^ This seems to be incredible. " But," says Story, 
" Augustus divided the city into eighteen regions : each 
region contained twenty-two. vici ; each vicus contained 
about two hundred and thirty dwelling-houses, so that 
there must have been seventy-five thousand houses ; of 
these houses, seventeen thousand were palaces, or domus. 
If each contained two hundred persons, (and four hundred 
slaves were maintained in a single palace,) reckoning 
family, freedmen, and slaves, we have three millions four 
hundred thousand people, and supposing the remaining 
fifty-eight thousand houses to have contained twenty-five 

* Strabo, lib. v. ch. 3. 2 gt, Amp6re, Hist. Romaine a Rome. 

9 



130 The Wonders of Ancient Rome. [Chap. m. 

persons each, we have in them one milHon four hundred 
and fifty thousand, which would give an entire population 
of four millions eight hundred and fifty thousand." If Mr. 
Merivale's estimate of seven hundred thousand is correct, 
then the Colosseum would hold nearly one in six of the 
whole population, which is incredible. Indeed, it is prob- 
able that even four millions was under than above the true 
estimate, which would make Rome the most populous city 
ever seen upon our globe. Nor is it extravagant to sup- 
pose this. The city numbered, according to the census, 
eighty thousand people in the year 197 ; and in 683 it had 
risen to four hundred and fifty thousand. Is it strange it 
should have numbered four millions in the time of Auo^us- 
tus, or even six millions in the time of Aarelian, when we 
bear in mind that it was the political and social centre of a 
vast empire, and that empire the world ? If London con- 
tains three millions at the present day, and Paris two mill- 
ions, why should not a capital which had no rival, and 
which controlled at least one hundred and twenty millions 
of people ? • So that Pliny was not probably wrong when 
he said, " Si quis altitudinem lector um a^ddat, dignam fro- 
fecto cestimationem concipiat, fateatur quiyiullius urbis mag- 
nitudinem potuisse ei comparare.^^ "If^any one considers 
the height of the roofs, so as to form a just estimate, he 
will confess that no city could be compared with it for 
magnitude." 

Modern writers, taking London and Paris for their meas- 
ure of material civilization, seem unwilling to admit that 
Rome could have reached such a pitch of glory and wealth 
and power. To him who stands within the narrow limits 
of the Forum, as it now appears, it seems incredible that 
it could have been the centre of a much larger cit}^ than 
Europe can now boast of Grave historians are loth to 
compromise their dignity and character for truth, by ad- 
mitting statements which seem, to men of limited views, 
to be fabulous, and which transcend modern experience. 



Chap. III.] The Gamcs. 131 

But we should remember that most of the monuments 
of ancient Rome have entirely disappeared. Nothing re- 
mains of the Palace of the Csesars, which nearly covered 
the Palatine Hill ; little of the fora which, connected to- 
gether, covered a space twice as large as that inclosed by 
the palaces of the Louvre and Tuileries with all their 
galleries and courts ; almost nothing of the glories of the 
Capitoline Hill ; and little comparatively of those Thermae 
which were a mile in circuit. But what does Themonu- 

^- ^ - - - ments which 

remam attests an unparalleled grandeur — the survive. 
broken pillars of the Forum ; the lofty columns of Trajan 
and Marcus Aurelius ; the Pantheon, lifting its spacious 
dome two hundred feet into the air ; the mere vestibule 
of the Baths of Agrippa ; the triumphal arches of Titus and 
Trajan and Constantine ; the bridges which span the Ti- 
ber ; the aqueducts which cross the Campagna ; the Cloaca 
Maxima, which drained the marshes and lakes of the in- 
fant city ; but above all, the Colosseum. What glory and 
shame are associated with that single edifice ! That alone, 
if nothing else remained of Pagan antiquity, would indicate 
a grandeur and a folly such as cannot now be seen on 
earth. It reveals a wonderful skill in masonry, and great 
architectural strength ; it shows the wealth and resources 
of rulers who must have had the treasures of the world 
at their command ; it indicates an enormous population, 
since it would seat all the male adults of the city of New 
York ; it shows the restless passions of the people for ex- 
citement, and the necessity on the part of government of 
yielding to this taste. What leisure and indolence marked 
a city which could afford to give up so much time to the 
demoralizing sports ! What facilities for transportation 
were afforded, when so many wild beasts could be brought 
to the capital from the central parts of Africa without call- 
ing out unusual comment ! How imperious a populace 
that compels the government to provide such Games of 
expensive pleasures ! The games of Titus, on ^^*"^* 



132 The Wonders of Ancient Rome, [Chap. in. 

its dedication, last one hundred days, and five thousand 
wild beasts are slaughtered in the arena. The number of 
the gladiators who fought surpasses belief At the triumph 
of Trajan over the Dacians, ten thousand gladiators were 
exhibited, and the emperor himself presides under a gilded 
canopy, surrounded by thousands of his lords. Under- 
neath the arena, strewed with yellow sand and sawdust, is 
a solid pavement so closely cemented that it can be turned 
into an artificial lake on which naval battles are fought. 
But it is the conflict of gladiators which most deeply 
stimulates the passions of the people. The benches are 
crowded with eager spectators, and the voices of one hun- 
dred thousand are raised in triumph or rage as the miser- 
able victims sink exhausted in the bloody sport. 

But it is not the gladiatorial sports of the amphitheatre 
which most strikingly attest the greatness and splendor of 
the city ; nor the palaces, in which as many as four hun- 
dred slaves are sometimes maintained as domestic ser- 
vants, twelve hundred in number accordino; to the lowest 
estimate, but probably five times as numerous, since every 
senator, every knight, and every rich man was proud to 
possess a residence which would attract attention ; nor the 
temples, which numbered four hundred and twenty-four, 
most of -which were of marble, filled with statues, the con- 
tributions of ages, and surrounded with groves ; nor the 
fora and basilicse, with their porticoes, statues, and pict- 
ures, covering more space than any cluster of public build- 
ings in Europe, a mile and a half in circuit ; nor the baths, 
nearly as large, still more completely filled with works of 
art ; nor the Circus Maximus, where more people wit- 
nessed the chariot races at a time than are nightly assem- 
bled in all the places of public amusement in Paris, 
London, and New York combined — more than could be 
seated in all the cathedrals of England and France ; it is 
not these which most impressively make us feel that Rome 
was the mistress of the world and the centre of all civiliza- 



Chap. III.] Triumph of Aiirelian. 133 

tion. The triumphal processions of the conquering gen- 
erals were still more exciting to behold, for these appeal 
more directly to the imagination, and excite those passions 
which urged the Romans to a career of conquest Roman 
from P'eneration to generation. No military re- ^"'^^p'^^ 
view of modern times equaled those gorgeous triumphs, 
even as no scenic performance compares with the gladia- 
torial shows. The sun has never shone upon any human 
assemblage so magnificent and so grand, so imposing and 
vet so guilty. And we recall the picture of it with solemn 
awe as it moves along the Via Sacra and ascends the Capi- 
toline Hill, or passes through the theatres of Pompey and 
Marcellus, that all the people might witness the brilliant 
spectacle. Not only w^ere displayed the spoils of con- 
quered kingdoms, and the triumphal cars of generals, but 
the whole military strength of the capital. An army of one 
hundred thousand men, flushed with victory, follows the 
gorgeous procession of nobles and princes. The triumph 
of Aurelian, on his return from the East, gives us some 
idea of the grandeur of that ovation to conquerors. " The 
pomp was opened by twenty elephants, four royal tigers, 
and two hundred of the most curious animals from every 
climate, north, south, east, and west. These were fol- 
lowed by one thousand six hundred gladiators, devoted to 
the cruel amusement of the amphitheatre. Then were 
displayed the arms and ensigns of conquered nations, the 
plate and wardrobe of the Syrian queen. Then ambassadors 
from all parts of the earth — all remarkable in their rich 
dresses, with, their crowns and offerings. Then the captives 
taken in the various wars, Goths, Vandals, Samaritans, Ale- 
manni, Franks, Gauls, Syrians, and Egyptians, each marked 
by their national costume. Then the Queen of the East, 
the beautiful Zenobia, confined by fetters of gold, and 
fainting under the weight of jewels, preceding the beautiful 
chariot in which she had hoped to enter the gates of Rome. 
Then the chariot of the Persian king. Then the triumphal 



13-A The Wonders of Ancient Rome. [Chap, m 

car of Aurelian himself, drawn by elephants. Finally the 
most illustrious of the Senate, the people, and the army 
closed the solemn procession, amid the acclamations of the 
people, and the sound of musical instruments. It took 
from dawn of day until the ninth hour for the procession 
to pass to the capitol, and the festival was protracted by 
theatrical representations, the games of the circus, the 
hunting of wild beasts, combats of gladiators, and naval 
engagements. Liberal donations were presented to the 
army, and a portion of the spoils dedicated to the gods. 
All the temples glittered with the offerings of ostentatious 
piety, and the Temple of the Sun received fifteen tliousand 
pounds of gold. The soldiers and the citizens were then 
surfeited with meat and wine. The disbanded soldiery 
thronged the amphitheatre, and yelled their fiendish ap- 
plause at the infernal games, — " the gorged robbers of the 
world, drunk in a festival of hell," ^ — a representation of 
war as terrible as war itself, compensating to the Roman 
people the massacres which they could not see. 

If any thing more were wanted to give us an idea ol 
Roman magnificence, we would turn our eyes from public 
monuments, demoralizing games, and grand processions ; 
we would forget the statues in brass and marble, which 
outnumbered the living inhabitants, so numerous that one 
hundred thousand have been recovered and still embellish 
Italy, and would descend into the lower sphere of material 
life — to those things which attest luxury and taste — to 
ornaments, dresses, sumptuous living, and rich furniture. 
The art of working metals and cutting precious stones sur- 
passed any thing known at the present day. In the deco- 
ration of houses, in social entertainments, in cookery, the 
Romans were remarkable. The mosaics, signet rings, cam- 
eos, bracelets, bronzes, chains, vases, couches, banqueting 
tables, lamps, chariots, colored glass, gildings, mirrors, mat- 
tresses, cosmetics, perfumes, hair dyes, silk robes, potteries, 

1 Henry Giles. 



Chap. III.] Grandeur of Home. 135 

all attest great elegance and beauty. The tables of 
thuga root and Delian bronze were as expensive as the 
sideboards of Spanish walnut, so much admired in the 
great exhibition at London. Wood and ivory were carved 
as exquisitely as in Japan and China. Mirrors were made 
of polished silver. Glass-cutters could imitate the colors 
of precious stones so well, that the Portland vase, from 
the tomb of Alexander Severus, was long considered as a 
genuine sardonix. Brass could be hardened so as to cut 
stone. The palace of Nero glittered with gold and jewels. 
Perfumes and flowers were showered from ivory ceilings. 
The halls of Heliogabulus were hung with cloth of gold, 
enriched with jewels. His beds were silver, and his tables 
of gold. Tiberius gave a million of sesterces for a picture 
for his bed-room. A banquet dish of Drusillus weighed 
five hundred pounds of silver. The cups of Drusus were 
of gold. Tunics were embroidered with the figures of 
various animals. Sandals were garnished with precious 
stones. Paulina wore jewels, when she paid visits, valued 
at $800,000. Drinking-cups were engraved with scenes 
from the poets. Libraries were adorned with busts, and 
presses of rare woods. Sofas were inlaid with tortoise-shell, 
and covered with gorgeous purple. The Roman grandees 
rode in gilded chariots, bathed in marble baths, dined from 
golden plate, drank from crystal cups, slept on beds of 
down, reclined on luxurious couches, wore embroidered 
robes, and were adorned witli precious stones. They ran- 
sacked the earth and the seas for rare dishes for their 
banquets, and ornamented their houses with carpets from 
Babylon, onyx cups from Bythinia, marbles from Nu- 
midia, bronzes from Corinth, statues from Athens — what- 
ever, in short, was precious or rare or curious in the most 
distant countries. The luxuries of the bath almost exceed 
belief, and on the walls were magnificent frescoes and 
paintings, exhibiting an inexhaustible productiveness in 
landscape and mythological scenes, executed in lively 



136 The Wonders of Ancient Home. [Chap, hi 

colors. From the praises of Cicero, Seneca, and Pliny, 
and other great critics, ^ve have a right to infer that paint- 
ing was as much prized as statuary, and equaled it in 
artistic excellence, although so little remains of antiquity 
from ^Yhich we can form an enlightened judgment. We 
certainly infer from desio;ns on vases sfreat skill in draw- 
ing, and from the excavations of Pompeii, the most beauti- 
ful colors. The walls of the great hall of the baths of 
Titus represent flowers, birds, and animals, drawn with 
wonderful accuracy. In the long corridor of these baths 
the ceiling is painted with colors which are still fresli, and 
Raphael is said to have studied the frescoes with admira- 
tion, even as Michael Angelo found in the Pantheon a 
model for the dome of St. Peter's, and in the statues which 
were dug up from the ruins of the baths, studies for his 
own immortal masterpieces. 

Thus every thing which gilds the material wonders of 
our day with glory and splendor, also marked the old 
capitol of the world. That which is most prized by us, 
distinguished to an eminent degree the Roman grandees. 
In an architectural point of view no modern city approaches 
Rome. It contained more statues than all the Museums 
of Europe. It had every thing wliich we have except 
machinery. It surpassed every modern capitol in popula- 
tion. It was richer than any modern city, since the peo- 
ple were not obliged to toil for their daily bread. The 
poor were fed by the government, and had time and 
leisure for the luxuries of the bath and the excitements 
of the amphitheatre. The citizen nobles owned whole 
provinces. Even Paula could call a whole city her own. 
Rich senators, in some cases, were the proprietors of 
twenty thousand slaves. Their incomes were known to 
be XIOOO sterling a day, when gold and silver were worth 
four times as much as at the present day. Rome was 
made up of these citizen kings and their dependants, for 
most of the senators had been, at some time, governors of 



Chap. III.] Permanence of Rome. 137 

provinces, which they rifled and robbed. In Rome were 
a.ccumulated the choicest treasures of the world. Her 
hills were covered with the palaces of the proudest nobles 
that ever walked the earth. Rome was the centre, and 
the glory, and the pride of all the nations of antiquity. 
It seemed impossible that such a city could ever be taken 
by enemies, or fall into decay. '' Quando cadet Roma 
cadet et omcndus,^'' said the admiring Saxons three hun- 
dred years after the injuries inflicted by Goths and Van- 
dals. Nor has Rome died. Never has she entirely passed 
into the hands of her enemies. A hundred times on the 
verge of annihilation, she was never annihilated. She 
never accepted the stranger's yoke — she never was per- 
manently subjected to the barbarian. She continued to be 
Roman after the imperial presence had departed. She 
was Roman when fires, and inundations, and pestilence, 
and famine, and barbaric soldiers desolated the city. She 
was Roman when the Pope held Christendom in a base 
subserviency. She was Roman when Rienzi attempted to 
revive the virtues of the heroic ao;es, and when Michael 
Angelo restored the wonders of Apollodorus. And Ro- 
man that city will remain, whether as the home of princes, 
or the future capitol of the kings of Italy, or the resort of 
travelers, or the school of artists, or the seat of a spiritual 
despotism which gains strength as political and temporal 
power passes away before the ideas of the new races and 
the new civilization. 



The most valuable book of reference for this chapter is the late work 
of Dr. Dyer, author of the article " Roma" in Smith's Dictionary. In 
fact this chapter is a mere compilation of that elaborate work, (" His- 
tory of the City of Rome,") which may be said to be exhaustive. 
Mabillon and Montfau^on- — two French Benedictines — rendered 
great service in the seventeenth century to Roman topography. Ed- 
ward Burton and Richard Burgess wrote descriptions of Roman 
antiquities, now superseded by the writings of those great German 
scholars, who made a new epoch of Roman topography — Niebuhr, 



138 The Wonders of Ancient Rome. [Chap. m. 

Bunsen, Platner, Gerhard, and Rostell, who, however, have succeeded 
in throwing doubt on many things supposed to be established. One 
of the most learned treatises on ancient Rome is the celebrated Hand- 
hucJi of Becker. Stephano Piale and Luigi Canina are the most 
approved of the modern Italian antiquarians. 



CHAPTER IV. 

ART IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 

In my enumeration of the external glories of the 
Roman world, I only attempted to glance at those wonders 
which were calculated to strike a traveler with admiration. 
Among these were the great developments of Art, dis- 
played in architecture, in statuary, and in painting. But 
I only enumerated the more remarkable objects of attrac- 
tion ; I did not attempt to show the genius displayed in 
them. But ancient art, as a proud creation of the genius 
of man, demands additional notice. We wish to know to 
what heights the Romans soared in that great realm of 
beauty and grace and majesty. 

The aesthetic glories of art are among the grandest 
triumphs of civilization, and attest as well as demand no 
ordinary force of genius. Art claims to be creative, and to 
be based on eternal principles of beauty, and artists in all 
ages have claimed a proud niche in the temple of fame. 
They rank with poets and musicians, and even philoso- 
phers and historians, in the world's regard. They are 
favored sons of inspiration, urged to their work by ideal 
conceptions of the beautiful and the true. Their produc- 
tions are material, but the spirit which led to their creation 
is ©f the soul and mind. Imagination is tasked to the 
uttermost to portray sentiments and passions. The bust is 
"animated," and the temple, though built of marble, and 
by man, is called "religious." Art appeals to every cul- 
tivated mind, and excites poetic feelings. It is impressive 
even to every order, class, and condition of men, not, per- 



140 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

haps, in its severest forms, since the taste must be culti- 
vated to appreciate its higher beauties, but to a certain 
extent. The pyramids and the granite image temples of 
Origin and Egvpt must havo filled even the rude people 

principles of , . ^ ^ 

art. With a certam awe and wonder, even as the 

majestic cathedrals of medieval Europe, with their impos- 
ing pomps, stimulated the poetic conceptions of the Gothic 
nations. Art is popular. The rude savage admires a 
gaudy picture even as the cultivated Leo X. or Cardinal 
Mazarini bent in admiration before the great creations of 
Raphael or Domenichino. Art appeals to the senses as 
well as to the intellect and the heart, and is capable of 
inspiring the passions as well as the loftiest emotions and 
sentiments. The Grecian mind was trained to the con- 
templation of aesthetic beauty in temples, in statues, and in 
pictures ; and the great artist was rewarded with honors 
and material gains. The love of art is easier kindled than 
the love of literary excellence, and is more generally 
diffused. It is coeval with songs and epic poetry. Before 
Socrates or Plato speculated on the great certitudes of 
philosophy, temples and statues were the pride and boast 
of their countrymen. And as the taste for art precedes 
the taste for letters, so it survives, when the literature has 
lost its life and freshness. The luxurious citizens of Rome 
ornamented their baths and palaces with exquisite pictures 
and statues long after genius ceased to soar to the heights 
of philosophy and poetry. The proudest triumphs of 
genius are in a realm which art can never approach, yet 
the wonders of art are still among the great triumphs of 
civilization. Zeuxis or Praxiteles may not have equaled 
Homer or Plato in profundity of genius, but it was only a 
great age which could have produced a Zeuxis or Praxit- 
eles. I cannot place Raphael on so exalted a pinnacle as 
Fascinations Lather, or Bacou, or Newton, and yet his fame 
°^"*' will last as long as civilization shall exist. The 

creations of the chisel will ever be held in reverence by 



CiiAP. IV.] Development of Art. 141 

mankind, and probably in proportion as wealth, elegance, 
and material prosperity shall flourish. In an important 
sense, Corinth was as wonderful as Athens, although to 
Athens will be assigned the highest place in the ancient 
world. It w^as art rather than literature or philosophy 
which was the glory of Rome in the period of her decline. 
As great capitals become centres of luxury and display, 
artists will be rewarded and honored. The pride of a 
commercial metropolis is in those material Avonders which 
appeal to the senses, and Avhich wealth can purchase. A 
rich merchant can give employment to the architect, when 
he would be disinclined to reward the critic or the his- 
torian. Even where liberty and lofty aspirations for truth 
and moral excellence hav6 left a state, the arts suffer but 
little decline. The crrandest monuments of Rome date to 
the imperial regime, not to the republican sway. When 
the voice of a Cicero was mute, the Flavian amphitheatre 
arose in its sublime proportions. Imperial despotism is 
favorable to the adornment of Paris and St. Petersburg, 
even as wealth and luxury will beautify New York. 
When the early lights of the Church were unheeded in the 
old capitals of the world, new temples and palaces were 
the glory of the state. Art was the first to be revived of 
the trophies of the old civilization, and it will be the last to 
be relinquished by those whom civilization has enriched. 
Art excites no dangerous passions or sentiments in Deveiop- 
a decaying monarchy, and it is a fresh and per- ™®"* ^^ *'^'* 
petual pleasure, not merely to the people, but to the arbiters 
of taste and fashion. The Popes rewarded artists wdien 
they crushed reformers, and persecuted inquiring genius. 
The developments of art appeal to material life and inter- 
ests rather than to the spiritual and eternal. St. Paul 
scarcely alludes to the material wonders of the cities he 
visited, even as Luther was insensible to the ornaments of 
Italy in his absorbing desire for the spiritual and moral 
welfare of society. Art is purely the creation of man. It 



142 Art in the Roman Empire. [Chap. iv. 

receives no inspiration from Heaven ; and yet the princi- 
ples on which it is based are eternal and unchangeable, and 
when it is made to be the handmaid of virtue, it is capable 
of exciting the loftiest sentiments. So pure, so exalted, 
and so wrapt are the feelings which arise from the con- 
templation of a great picture or statue, that we sometimes 
ascribe a religious force to the art itself, while all that is 
divine springs from the conception of the artist, and all 
that is divine in his conception arises from sentiments inde- 
pendent of his art, as he is stimulated by emotions of 
religion, or patriotism, or public virtue, and which he could 
never have embodied had he not been a good man, rather 
than a great artist, or, at least, affected by sentiments 
which he learned from other sources. There can be no 
doubt that, through the vehicle of art, the grandest and 
noblest sentiments may be expressed. Hence artists may 
be great benefactors ; yet sometimes their works are 
demoralizing, as they appeal to perverted taste and pas- 
sions. This was especially true in the later days of Rome, 
when artists sought to please their corrupt but wealthy 
patrons. The great artists of Greece, however, had in 
Glory of vicw a lofty ideal of beauty and grace which 
^^^' they sought to realize without reference to 

profit, or worldly advantage, or utilitarian necessities. 
Art, when true and exalted, as it sometimes is, and always 
should be, has its end in itself. Like virtue, it is its own 
reward. Michael Angel© worked, preoccupied and wrapt, 
without the stimulus of even praise, even as Dante lived 
in the visions to which his imagination gave form and 
reality. • Art is therefore self-sustained, unselfish, lofty. 
It is the soul going forth triumphant over external cir- 
cumstances, jubilant and melodious even in poverty and 
neglect, rising above the evils of life in its absorbing con- 
templation of ideal loveliness. The fortunate accidents of 
earth are nothing to tlie true artist, striving to reach his 
ideal of excellence, — no more than carpets and chairs are 



Chap. IV.] The Ideal of Art, 143 

to a great woman pining for sympathy or love. And it is 
only when there is this soul-longing to reach the excellence 
it has conceived for itself alone that great works have been 
produced. The sweetest strains of music sometimes come 
from women where no one listens to their melodies. Nor 
does a great artist seek or need commiseration, if ever so 
unfortunate in worldly circumstances. He may be sad 
and sorrowful, but only in the profound seriousness of 
superior knowledge, in that isolation to which all genius is 
doomed. 

We have reason to believe that the great artists of 
antiquitv lived, as did the Ionic philosophers, in Great artists 
their own glorious realms or thought and leel- inspiration. 
ing, which the world could neither understand nor share. 
Their ideas of grace and beauty were realized to the 
highest degree ever known on earth. They were ex- 
pressed in their temples, their statues, and their pictures. 
They did not live for utilities. When art became a utility, 
it degenerated. It became more pretentious, artificial, 
complicated, elaborate, ornamental even, but it lacked 
genius, the simplicity of power, the glory of originality. 
The horses of the sun cannot be made to go round in 
a mill. The spiritual must keep within its own seclusion, 
in its inner temple of mystery and meditation. 

Grecian art was consecrated to Paganism, and could not 
therefore soar beyond what Paganism revealed. Grecian art 
It did not typify those exalted sentiments which toPagauism, 
even a Gothic cathedral portrayed — sacrifice ; the man 
on the cross ; the man in the tomb ; the man ascending; 
to heaven. Nor did it paint, like Raphael, etherial beauty, 
.such as was expressed in the mother of our Lord, her 
whom all generations shall bless, regina angelorum, mater 
divince gratioe. But whatever has been reached by the 
unaided powers of man, it reproduced and consecrated, and 
it realized the highest conceptions of beauty and grace 
that have ever been represented. All that the mind and 



144 Art in the Roman Empire. [Chap. iv. 

the soul could, by their inherent force, reach, it has air 
tained. Modern civilization has no prouder triumphs than 
those achieved by the artists of Pagan antiquity in those 
things which pertain to beauty and grace. Grecian artists 
have been the schoolmasters of all nations and all ag-es in 
architecture, sculpture, and painting. How far they them- 
selves w^ere original we cannot decide, although they were 
Greatness probably somcwhat indebted to the AsvSyrians 
of Greciaif ^.ud Egyptians. But they struck out so new a 
style, and so different from the older monuments 
of Asia and Egypt, that we consider them the great 
creators of art. But whether original or not, they have 
never been surpassed. In some respects their immortal 
productions remain objects of hopeless imitation. In the 
realization of ideas of beauty which are eternal, like those 
on wliich Plato built his system of philosophy, the}'' 
reached absolute perfection. And lience we infer that art 
can flourish under Pagan as well as Christian influences. 
We can go no higher than those ancient Pagans in one of 
the proudest fields of civilization ; for art has as sincere 
and w^arm admirers as it had in Grecian and Roman times, 
but the limit of excellence has been reached. It is the 
mission of our age to appl}" creative genius to enterprises 
and works which have not been tried, if any thing new is 
to be found under the sun. Nor was it the number and 
extent of the works of art among the Greeks and Romans, 
nor their perfection, which made art so distinguishing an 
element of the old civilization. It was the spirit of the 
age, the absorption of the public mind, the great prom- 
inence which art had in tlie eyes of the people. Art 
was to the Greeks what tournaments and churches were to 
the men of the Middle Ages, what the Reformation was to 
Germany and England in the sixteenth century, what 
theories of political rights were to the era of the French 
Revolution, what mechanical inventions to abridge hu- 
man labor are to us. The creation of a great statue was 



Chap. iV-l TJic Principles of Art. 145 

an era, an object of popular interest — the subject of uni- 
versal comment. It kindled popular inspirations. Grecian ad- 

T 1 p r> •I'll miration of 

It was the great form or progress m which that art. 
age rejoiced. Public benefactors erected temples, and 
lavished upon them the superfluous wealth of the State. 
And public benefactors, in turn, had statues erected to 
their memory by their grateful admirers. The genius of 
the age expressed itself in marble histories. And these his- 
tories stand in the mystery of absolute perfection — the 
glory and the characteristic of a great and peculiar people. 
Much has been written on those principles upon which 
art is founded, and great ingenuity displayed, principles of 
But treatises on taste, on beauty, on grace, and ^^'" 
other perceptions of intellectual pleasure, are not very sat- 
isfactory, and must be necessarily indefinite. In what does 
beauty consist ? Do we arrive at any clearer conceptions 
of it by definitions ? Whether beauty, the chief glory of 
the fine arts, consists in certain arrangements and propor- 
tions of the parts to a whole, or in the fitness of means to an 
end, or is dependent on associations which excite pleasure, 
or is a revelation of truth, or is an appeal to sensibilities, 
or is an imitation of Nature, or the realization of ideal 
excellence, it is difficult to settle and almost useless to 
inquire. " Metaphysics, mathematics, music, and philos- 
ophy have been called in to analyze, define, demonstrate, 
and generalize." ^ Great writers have written ingenious 
treatises, like Burke, Alison, and Stewart. Beauty, accord- 
ing to Plato, is the contemplation of mind ; Leibnitz main- 
tained it consists in perfection ; Diderot referred beauty to 
the idea of relation ; Blondel asserted it was harmonic pro- 
portions ; Peter Leigh speaks of it as the music of the eye. 
Yet everybody understands what beauty is, and that it is 
derived from Nature, agreeable to the purest models which 
Nature presents. Such was the ideal of Phidias. Such 
was it to the minds of the Greeks, who united every ad- 

1 Cleghom, Ancieni and Modem Art, vol. i. p. 67. 
10 



146 Art in the Roman Umpire. [Chap. iv. 

vantage, physical and mental, for the perfection of art. 
Nor could art have been so wonderfully developed had it 
not been for the influence vs^hich the great poets, orators, 
dramatists, historians, and philosophers exercised on the 
inspiration of the artists. Phidias, being asked how he 
conceived the idea of his Olympian Jupiter, answered by 
repeating a passage of Homer. We can scarcely conceive 
Devotion of of the cuthusiasm which the Greeks exhibited in 

the Greeks 

for art. the Cultivation of art. Hence it has obtained an 
ascendency over that of all other nations. Roman art was 
the continuation of the Grecian. The Romans appreciated 
and rewarded Grecian artists. They adopted their archi- 
tecture, their sculpture, and their paintings ; and, though 
art never attained the estimation and dignity in Rome that 
it did in Greece, it still can boast of a great development. 
But, inasmuch as all the great models were Grecian, and 
appropriated and copied by the Romans, — inasmuch as 
the great wonders of the " Eternal City " were made by 
Greeks, — we cannot treat of Roman art in distinction from 
Grecian. And as I wish to show simply the triumph of 
Pagan genius in the realm of art, and most of the immor- 
tal creations of the great artists were transported to Rome, 
and adorned Rome, it is within my province to go where 
they were originally found. 

" Tu, regere imperio populos, Romane, memento ! 
Hae tibi erunt artes." 

The first development of art was in architecture, not 
Art first im- merely among the Greeks, but among the older 

pressive in . a i i i • p • 

architecture, natious. Although it reiers, in a certain sense, 
to all buildings, yet it is ordinarily restricted to those edi- 
fices in which we recognize the principle of beauty, such 
as symmetrical arrangement, and attractive ornaments, like 
pillars, cornices, and sculptured leaves. 

The earliest buildings were houses to protect men from 
the inclemencies of the weather, and built without much 
regard to beauty ; but it is in temples for the worship of 



Chap. IV.] Egyptian Architecture* 147 

God, that architecture lays claim to dignity. It was the 
result of devotional feelings ; nor is there a single instance 
of supreme excellence in art being reached, which was not 
sacred, and connected with, reverential tendencies. In the 
erection and decoration of sacred buildings there was a 
profound sentiment that they were to be the sanctuaries 
of God, and genius was stimulated by pious emotions. In 
India, in Egypt, in Greece, in Italy, the various tem- 
ples all originated in blended superstition and devotion. 
Nor did the edifice, erected for religious worship, reach 
its culminating height of beauty and grandeur until that 
earnest and profoundly religious epoch which felt as in- 
juries the insults offered to the tomb which covered the 
remains of the Saviour of the world. Then arose those 
hoary and Gothic vaults of Cologne and Westminster, the 
only modern structures which would probably have called 
out the admiration of an ancient Greek. 

But architecture is conventional, and demands a knowl- 
edge of its system and a mind informed as to Egyptian 
the principles on which it depends for beauty, architecture. 
Hence, in the oldest temples of India and Egypt, there 
was probably vastness, without elegance or even embel- 
lishment. But no nation ever left structures that, in 
extent and grandeur, can compare with those of ancient 
Egypt ; and these were chiefly temples. Nothing remains 
of the ancient monuments of Thebes but the ruins of edi- 
fices consecrated to the deity — neither bridges, nor quays, 
nor baths, nor theatres. It was when the Israelites were 
oppressed by Pharaoh that the great city of Heliopolis, 
which the Greeks called Thebes, arose, with its hundred 
gates, and stately public buildings, and magnificent tem- 
ples. The ruins of these attest grandeur and vastness. 
They were built of stone, in huge blocks, and we are still 
at a loss to comprehend how such heavy stones could have 
been transported and erected. All the monuments of the 
Pharaohs are wonders of science and art, especially such 



148 Art in the Roman Empire. [Chap iv. 

as appear in the ruins of Carnack — a temple formerly 
designated as that of Jupiter Amnion. It was in the time 
of Sesostris, or Rameses the Great, the first of the Pha- 
raohs of the nineteenth dynasty, that architecture in Egypt 
reached its greatest development. Then we find the rec- 
Monuments taugular cut blocks of stone in parallel courses, 
of Egypt. ^^^ ^i^g heavy piers, and the cylindrical column, 
with its bell-shaped capital, and the bold and massive rec- 
tangular architraves extending from pier to pier and column 
to column, surmounted by a deep covered coping or cor- 
nice. But the imposing architecture of Egypt was chiefly 
owing to the vast proportions of the public buildings. It 
was not produced by beauty of proportion, or graceful 
embellishments. It was designed to awe the people, and 
kindle sentiments of wonder and astonishment. So far as 
this end was contemplated, it was nobly reached. Even to 
this dav the traveller stands in admirino; amazement before 
those monuments which were old three thousand years ago. 
No structures have been so enduring as the Pyramids. 
No ruins are more extensive and majestic than those of 
Thebes. The temple of Carnack and the palace of Ra- 
meses the Great, were probably the most imposing ever 
built by man. This temple was built of blocks of stone 
Temple of scveuty fcet in length, on a platform one thou- 
carnack. gaud feet loug and three hundred wide, with pil- 
lars sixty feet in height. But this and other structures 
did not possess that unity of design, which marked the 
Grecian temples. Alleys of colossal sphinxes form the ap- 
proach. At Carnack the alley was six thousand feet long, 
and before the main body of the edifice stand two obelisks 
commemorative of the dedication. The principal struct- 
ures do not follow the straight line, but begin with pyra- 
midical towers which flank the gateways. Then follows, 
usually, a court surrounded with colonnades, subordinate 
temples, and houses for the priests. A second pylon, or 
pyramidical tower, now leads to the interior and most con- 



Chap. IV.] The Pyramids, 149 

siderable part of the temple, a portico inclosed with walls, 
which only receives light through the entablature or open- 
ings in the roof. Adjoining to this is the cella of the tem- 
ple, without columns, inclosed by several walls, often 
divided into various small chambers, with monolith recep- 
tacles for idols or mummies or animals. The columns 
stand within the walls. The Egyptians had no perpetual 
temples. The colonnade is not, as among the Greeks, an 
expansion of the temple ; it is merely the wall with aper- 
tures. The walls, composed of square blocks. Features of 
are perpendicular only on the inside, and beveled art. 
externally, so that the thickness at the bottom sometimes 
amounts to twenty-four feet, and thus the whole building 
assumes a pyramidical form, the fundamental principle of 
Egyptian architecture. The columns are more slender 
than the early Doric, are placed close together, and have 
bases of circular plinths ; the shaft diminishes, and is orna- 
mented with perpendicular or oblique furrows, but not 
fluted like Grecian columns. The capitals are of the bell 
form, ornamented with all kinds of foliage, and have a nar- 
row but high abacus, or bulge out below, and are contracted 
above, with low, but projecting abacus. They abound with 
sculptured decorations, borrowed from the vegetation of 
the country. The highest of the columns of the temple 
of Luxor is five and a quarter times the greatest diameter.^ 
But no monuments have ever excited so much curiosity 
and wonder as the Pyramids, not in consequence .^^^ py,.^. 
of any particular beauty or ingenuity, as from ™^*^®" 
their immense size and unknown age. None but sacerdo- 
tal monarchs would ever have erected them — none but a 
fanatical people would ever have toiled upon them. They 
do not indicate civilization, but despotism. We do not 
know for what purpose they were raised, except as sepul- 
chres for kings. They do not even indicate as high a 
culture as the temples of Thebes, although they were built 

1 Miiller. 



150 Art in the Roman Empire. [Chap. iv. 

at a considerable period subsequently, even several genera- 
tions after Sesostris reigned in splendor. The pyramid of 
Cheops, at Memphis, covers a square whose side is seven 
hundred and sixty-eight feet, and rises into the air four 
hundred and fifty-two, and is a solid mass of stone, which 
has suffered less from time than the mountains near it. 
And it is probable that it stands over an immense substruc* 
ture, in which may yet be found the lore of ancient Egypt, 
and which may even prove to be the famous labyrinth of 
which Herodotus speaks, built by the twelve kings of 
Egypt. According to this author, one hundred thousand 
men worked on this monument for forty years. What a 
waste of labor ! 

The palaces of the kings are mere imitations of the tem- 
ples, and the only difference of architecture is this, that 
the rooms are larger and in greater numbers. Some think 
that the labyrinth was a collective palace of many rulers. 

Such was the massive grandeur of Egyptian antiquities : 
at the best curiosities, but of slight avail for moral or ass- 
thetic culture, they yet indicate a considerable civiliza- 
tion at a very remote period — proving not merely by archi- 
tectural monuments, but by their system of writing, an 
original and intellectual people.^ 

Of Babylonian architecture we know but little, beyond 
Babylonian what the ScHpturcs and ancient authors allude 
architecture. ^^ jj^ scattered uoticcs. But, though nothing sur- 
vives of ancient magnificence, we feel that a city whose 
walls, according to Herodotus, were eighty-seven feet in 
thickness, three hundred and thirty-seven in height, and 
sixty miles in circumference, and in which were one hun- 
dred gates of brass, must have had considerable architectu- 
ral splendor. The Tower of Belus, the Palace of Nebu- 
chadnezzar, and the Obelisk of Semiramis, were probably 
wonderful structures, certainly in size, which is one of the 
conditions of architectural effect. 

1 Miiller, Ancient Art ; Wilkinson, Topog. of Thebes ; Champollion, Ldtre$ 
Ecrites d' Egypt; Journal des Sav. 1836; Encyclopedia BHtannica ; Strabo. 



Chap. IV.] Grecian Architecture, 151 

The Tyrians must have carried architecture to consid- 
erable perfection, since the Temple of Solomon, Tynan mon- 
one of the most magnificent in the ancient "°^^^*^^- 
world, was probably built by Phoenician artists. It was 
not remarkable for size ; it was, indeed, very small ; but 
it had great splendor of decoration. It was of quadran- 
gular outline, erected upon a solid platform of stone, and 
having a striking resemblance to the oldest Greek temples, 
like those of ^gina and Psestum. The portico of the 
temple, in the time of Herod, was one hundred and eighty 
feet high, and the temple itself was entered by nine gates 
thickly coated with silver and gold. The inner sanctuary 
was covered on all sides with plates of gold, and was daz- 
zling to the eye. The various courts and porticoes and 
palaces with which it was surrounded, gave to it a very 
imposing effect. 

Architecture, however, as the expression of genius and 
high civilization, was perfected only by the Greeks. Egyp- 
tian monuments were curiosities to the Greek and Roman 
mind, as they are to us objects of awe and wonder. And 
as we propose to treat of the arts in their culminating ex- 
cellence chiefly, — to show what the Pagan intellect of 
man could accomplish, unaided by light from heaven, we 
turn to the great teacher of the last two thousand years. 
It was among the ancient Dorians, who descended from 
the mountains of Northern Greece eighty years ^ariy Doric 
after the fall of Troy, that art first appeared, "^^^^'^^'^ts. 
The Pelasgi, supposed to be Phoenicians, erected Cyclo- 
pean structures fifteen hundred years before Christ, as seen 
in the giant walls of the Acropolis,^ constructed of huge 
blocks of hewn stone, and the palaces of the princes of he- 
roic times,2 like the Mycenaean treasury, the lintel of the 
doorway of which is one stone twenty-seven feet long and 
sixteen broad.^ But these edifices, which aimed at splen- 

1 DodweWs Classical Tour, Miiller. 

2 Homer's description of the palace of Odysseus. 

3 Mure, Tour in Greece. 



152 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

dor and richness merely, were deficient in that simplicity 
and harmony which have given immortality to the temples 
of the Dorians. In this style of architecture every thing 
was suitable to its object, and was grand and noble. The 
great thickness of the columns, the beautiful entablature, 
the ample proportion of the capital ; the great horizontal 
lines of the architrave and cornice, predominating over the 
vertical lines of the columns ; the severity of geometrical 
forms, produced for the most part by straight lines, gave 
an imposing simplicity to the Doric temple. How far the 
Greek architects were indebted to the Egyptian we can- 
not tell, for though columns are found amid the ruins of 
Theprinci- the Eo;yptian temples, they are of different shape 

pies of Doric _ ^"^ ^ iii.-,i ti 

achitecfure. trom any made by the (jrreeks. In the structures 
of Thebes we find both the tumescent and the cylindrical 
columns, from which amalgamation might have been pro- 
duced the Doric column. The Greeks seized on beauty 
wherever they found it, and improved upon it. The Doric 
column was not, probably, an entirely new creation, but 
shaped after the models furnished by the most original of 
all the ancient nations, even the Egyptians. The Doric 
style was used exclusively until after the Macedonian con- 
quest, and was chiefly applied to temples. The Doric tem- 
ples are uniform in plan. The columns were fluted, and 
were generally about six diameters in height. They di- 
minished gradually from the base, with a slight convexed 
swelling downward. They were superimposed by capitals 
proportionate, and coming within their height. The en- 
tablature which the column supported is also of so many 
diameters in height. So regular and perfect was the plan 
of the temple, that, " if the dimensions of a single column, 
and the proportion the entablature should bear to it, were 
given to two individuals acquainted with the style, with 
directions to compose a temple, they would produce designs 
exactly similar in size, arrangement, and general propor- 
tions." Then the Doric order possessed a peculiar liar- 



Chap. IV.] The Doric Or del, 153 

mony, but taste and skill were nevertheless necessary in 
order to determine the number of diameters a column 
should have, and, accordingly, the height of the entabla- 
ture. The Doric was the favorite order of European 
Greece for one thousand years, and also of her colonies in 
Sicily and Magna Grsecia. The massive temples The features 
of Paestum, the colossal magnificence of the Sicil- order. 
ian ruins, and the more elegant proportions of the Athe- 
nian structures, like the Parthenon and Temple of Theseus, 
show the perfection of the Doric architecture. Although 
the general style of all the Doric temples is so uniform, 
yet hardly two temples were alike. The earlier Doric 
was more massive ; the latter were more elegant, and were 
rich in sculptured decorations. Nothing could surpass the 
beauty of a Doric temple in the time of Pericles. The 
stylobate or pedestal, from two thirds to a whole diameter 
of a column in height, was built in three equal courses, 
which gradually receded from the one below, and formed 
steps, as it were, of a grand platform on which the pillars 
rested. The column was from four to six diameters in 
height, with twenty flutes, with a capital of half a diameter 
supporting the entablature. This again, two diameters in 
height, was divided into architrave, frieze, and cornice. 
But the great beauty of the temple was the portico in front, 
a forest of columns, supporting the pediment, about a diam- 
eter and a half to the apex, making an angle at the base of 
about 14°. From the pediment projects the cornice, while, 
at the apex and at the base of it, are sculptured ornaments, 
generally, the figures of men or animals. The whole out- 
line of columns supporting the entablature is graceful, while 
the variety of light and shade arising from the arrange- 
ment of mouldings and capitals produce a grand effect. 
The Parthenon, the most beautiful specimen of xhePar- 
the Doric, has never been equaled, and it still *^^"o^- 
stands august in its ruins — the glory of the old Acropolis, 
and the pride of Athens. It was built of Pentelic marble, 



154 Art in the Roman JEmjnre, [Chap. iv. 

and rested on a basement of limestone. It was two hun- 
dred and twenty-seven feet in length, and one hundred 
and one in breadth, and sixty-five in height, surrounded 
with forty-eight fluted columns, six feet and two inches at 
the base, and thirty-four feet in height, while within th« 
peristyle, at either end, was an interior range of columns, 
standing before the end of the cella. The frieze and the 
pediment were elaborately ornamented with reliefs and 
statues, while the cella, within and without, was adorned 
with the choicest sculptures of Phidias. The grandest 
was the colossal statue of Minerva, in the eastern apart- 
ment of the cella, forty feet in height, composed of gold and 
ivory ; while the inner walls were decorated with paint- 
ings, and the temple itself was a repository of countless 
treasure. But the Parthenon, so regular, with its verti- 
cal and horizontal lines, was curved in every line, with the 
exception of the gable, — pillars, architrave, entablature, 
frieze, and cornice, together with the basement— all arched 
upwards, though so shghtly as not to be perceptible, and 
these curved lines gave to it a peculiar grace which cannot 
be imitated, as well as solidity. 

Nearly coeval with the Doric was the Ionic order, in- 
vented by the Asiatic Greeks, still more ' graceful, though 
not so imposing. The Acropolis is a perfect example of 
The Aero- ^^^^^ ordcr. Thc column is nine diameters in 
polls. height, with a base, while the capital is more 

ornamented. The shaft is fluted with twenty-four flutes 
and alternate fillets, and the fillet is about a quarter the 
width of the flute. The pediment is flatter than of the 
Doric order, and more elaborate. The great distinction 
of the Ionic column is a base, and a capital formed with 
volutes, with a more slender shaft. Vitruvius, the greatest 
authority among the ancients in architecture, says that, 
" the Greeks, in inventing these two kinds of columns, 
imitated in the one the naked simplicity and dignity of a 
man, and in the other, the delicacy and ornaments of a 



Chap. IV.] Beauty of G-recian Temples. 155 

woman ; the base of the Ionic was the imitation of san- 
dals, and the volutes of ringlets." 

The Corinthian order exhibits a still greater refinement 
and elegance than the other two, and was introduced to- 
ward the end of the Peloponnesian war. Its peculiarity 
is columns with foliated capitals, and still greater height, 
about ten diameters, with a more ornamented entablature. 
Of this order, the most famous temple in Greece Tempie of 
was that of Minerva at Tegea, built by Scopas ^^^^^^'^^• 
of Paros, but destroyed by fire four hundred years before 
Christ. 

Nothing more distinguished Greek architecture than the 
variety, the grace, and the beauty of the mouldings, gene- 
rally in eccentric curves. The general outline of the 
moulding is a gracefully flowing cyma, or wave, concave 
at one end, and convex at the other, like an Italic /, the 
concavity and convexity being exactly in the same curve, 
according to the line of beauty which Hogarth describes. 

The most beautiful application of Grecian architecture 
was in the temples, which were very numerous. Architecture 
and of extraordinary grandeur, long before the GmSfseen 
Persian war. Their entrance was always to p'^ScUon*in 
the west or the east. They were built either *^"^p^^'- 
in an oblong or round form, and were mostly adorned 
with columns. Those of an oblong form had columns 
either in the front alone, in the fore and back fronts, or on 
all the four sides. They generally had porticoes attached 
to them. They had no windows, receiving their light 
from the door or from above. The friezes were adorned 
with various sculptures, as were sometimes the pediments, 
and no expense was spared upon them. The most im- 
portant part of the temple was the cella, where the statue 
of the deity was kept, and was generally surrounded with 
a balustrade. Beside the cella was the vestibule, and a 
chamber in the rear or back front in which the treasures 
of the temple were kept. Names v/ere applied to the 



156 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

temples, as well as the porticoes, according to the number 
of columns in the portico at either end of the temple, 
such as the tetrastyle with four columns in front, or 
hexastyle when there were six. There were never more 
than ten columns in front. The Parthenon had eight, 
but six was the usual number. It was the rule to have 
twice as many columns along the sides as in front, and 
one more. Some of the temples had double rows of 
columns on all sides, like that of Diana at Ephesus, and 
of Quirinus at Rome. The distance between the columns 
varied from a diameter and half of a column to four diam- 
'eters. About five eighths of a Doric temple were occupied 
by the cella, and three eighths by the portico. 

That which gives so much simplicity and harmony in 
Simplicity of the Greek temples, which are the great elements 
temples. of bcauty in architecture, is the simple outline, 
in parallelogrammic and pyramidal forms, in which the lines 
are straight and uninterrupted through their entire length. 
This simplicity and harmony are more apparent in the 
Doric than in any of the other orders, and pertain to all 
the temples of which we have knowledge. Nor can any 
improvement be made upon them, or any alteration 
which does not conflict with established principles. The 
Ionic and Corinthian, or the Voluted and Foliated orders, 
do not possess that harmony which pervades the Doric, but 
the more beautiful compositions are so consummate that 
they will ever be taken as models of study. 

It is not the magnitude of the Grecian temples and 
other works of art which most impresses us. It is not for 
this that they are important models. It is not for this that 
they are co])ied and reproduced in all the modern nations 
of Europe. They were generally small compared with 
the temples of Egypt, or the vast dimensions of Roman 
ami)hithcatres. Only three or four would compare in 
size with a Gothic cathedral, like the Parthenon, the 
Temple of Zeus at Olympia, and the Temple of Diana 



Chap. IV.] Roman Architecture, 157 

at Ephesus. Even the Pantheon at Rome is small, com- 
pared with the later monuments of the Caesars. The 
traveler is always disappointed in contemplating their 
remains, so far as size is concerned. But it is their 
matchless proportions, their severe symmetry, Matchless 
the grandeur of eifect, the undying beauty, the oTth^Gre-^ 
graceful form which impress us, and make us "an temples 
feel that they are perfect. By the side of the Colosseum 
they are insignificant in magnitude. They do not cover 
acres like the baths of Caracalla. Yet who has copied 
the Flavian amphitheatre ? Who erects an edifice after 
the style of the Thermae? But all artists copy the Par- 
thenon, That, and not the colossal monuments of the 
Caesars, reappears in the capitals of Europe, and stimulates 
the genius of a Michael Angelo or a Christopher Wren. 

The flourishing period of Greek architecture was dur- 
ing the period from Pericles to Alexander — one hundred 
and thirteen years. The Macedonian conquest intro- 
duced more magnificence and less simplicity. The Roman 
conquest accelerated the decline in severe taste, when 
different orders were used indiscriminately. 
N. In this state the art passed into the hands of the masters 
of the world, and they inaugurated a new era in Bec^innin of 
architecture. The art was still essentially Greek, ^o™^^*'^*^- 
although the Romans derived their first knowledsre from 
the Etruscans. The Cloaca Maxima was built durinsf the 
reign of the second Tarquin — the grandest monument of 
the reign of the kings. It is not probable that temples 
and other public buildings were either beautiful or mao-ni- 
ficent until the conquest of Greece, when Grecian archi- 
tects were employed. The Romans adopted the Corin- 
thian style, which they made even more ornamental, and 
by the successful combination of the Etruscan arch with 
the Grecian column, laid the foundation of a new and 
original style, susceptible of great variety and mao-nifi- 
cence. They entered into architecture with the enthusi- 



158 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap, iv 

asm of their teachers, but, in their passion for novelty, lost 
sight of the simplicity which is the great fascination of a 
Doric Temple. " And they deemed that lightness and 
grace were to be attained not so much by proportion be- 
tween the vertical and the horizontal, as by the compara- 
tive slenderness of the former. Hence we see a poverty 
in Roman architecture in the midst of profuse ornament. 
The great error was a constant aim to lessen the diameter, 
while they increased the elevation, of the columns. Hence 
the massive simplicity and severe grandeur of the ancient 
Doric disappear in the Roman, the characteristics of the 
order being frittered down into a multiplicity of minute 
details. " ^ And when they used the Doric at all, they 
used the base, which was never done at Athens. They 
also altered the Doric capital, which cannot be improved. 
Again, most of the Grecian Doric temples were peripteral, 
that is, were surrounded with pillars on all the sides. But 
tlie Romans did not build with porticoes even on each 
front, but only on one, which had a greater projection 
than the Grecian. They generally are projected three 
columns. Many of the Roman temples are circular, like 
the Pantheon, which has a portico of eight columns pro- 
jected to the depth of three. Nor did the Romans con- 
struct hypsethral temples, or uncovered, with internal col- 
umns, like the Greeks. The Pantheon is an exception, 
Roraana siucc the domc has an open eye ; and one great 

copied the p i • i • p i • • i 

Greeks. omamcnt or this beautirul structure is in the 
arrangement of internal columns placed in the front of 
niches, composed with antoe, or pier-formed ends of walls, 
to carry an entablature round under an attic on which the 
cupola rests. They also adopted coupled columns, broken 
and recessed entablatures, and pedestals, which are con- 
sidered blemishes. They again paid more attention to the 
interior than to the exterior decoration of their palaces and 
baths, as we may infer from the ruins of Adrian's villa at 
Tivoli, and the excavations of Pompeii. 

1 Memes, Sculpture and Architecture. 



Chap. IV.] Roman Corinthian Order, 159 

The Roman Corinthian, Uke the Greek orders, consisted 
of three parts, stylobate, column, and entablature, but the 
stylobate was much loftier, and was not graduated, except in 
the access before a portico. The column varied from nine 
and a half to ten diameters, and was always fluted with 
twenty-four flutes and fillets. The height of the capital 
is a diameter and one eighth ; the entablature varies from 
one diameter and seven eighths to two diameters and a half. 
The portico of the Pantheon is one of the best specimens 
of the Corinthian order. The entablature of the temple 
of Jupiter Stator, like that of the Pantheon, is two diame- 
ters and one half. The pediments are steeper than those 
made by the Greeks, varying in inclination from eighteen 
to twenty-five degrees. The mouldings used in Roman 
architectural works are the same as the Grecian in general 
form, although they differ from them in contour. They 
are less delicate and graceful, but were used in great pro- 
fusion. Roman architecture is overdone with ornament, 
every moulding carved, and every straight surface sculpt- 
ured with foliage or historical subjects in relief. The orna- 
ments of the frieze consist of foliage and animals, with a 
variety of other things. The great exuberance of orna- 
ment is considered a defect, although when applied to some 
structures it is exceedin^ilv beautiful. In the time of the 
first Cgesars architecture had a character of grandeur and 
magnificence. Columns and arches appeared in all the 
leading public buildings, columns generally forming the 
external, and arches the internal construction. Fabric 
after fabric arose on the ruins of others. The Flavii sup- 
planted the edifices of Nero, which ministered to de- 
bauchery, by structures of public utility. 

The Romans invented no new principle In architecture, 
except the arch, which was not known to the Greeks, and 
carried out by them to greater perfection than by the Ro- 
mans ; but this, for simplicity, harmony, and beauty, has 
never been surpassed in any age, or by any nation. 



160 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

The Romans were a practical and utilitarian people, and 
needed for their various structures greater economy of 
material than large blocks of stone, especially for such as 
were carried to great altitudes. The arch su])plied this 
want, and is perhaps the greatest invention ever made in 
architecture. No instance of its adoption occurs in the con- 
struction of Greek edifices, before Greece became a part 
of the Roman Empire. Its application dates back to the 
Cloaca Maxima, and may have been of Etrurian invention. 
It was not known to Egyptians, or Persians, or Indians, or 
Greeks. Some maintain that Archimedes of Sicily was the 
inventor, but to' whomsoever the glory of the invention is 
Changes duc, it is Certain that the Romans were the first 

made by the , . ^ , . . p . i p i 

Romans. to make a practical application or its wondertul 
qualities. It enabled them to rear vast edifices into the 
air with the humblest materials, to build bridges, aque- 
ducts, sewers, amphitheatres, and triumphal arches, as well 
as temples and palaces ; its merits have never been lost 
sight of by succeeding generations, and it is at the founda- 
tion of the mao;nificent Gothic cathedrals of the Middle 
Ages. Its application extends to domes and cupolas, 
to arched floors and corridors and roofs, and to various 
other parts of buildings where economy of material and 
labor is desired. It was applied extensively to doorways 
and windows, and is an ornament as well as a utility. The 
most imposing forms of Roman architecture may be traced 
Invention ^^ a kuowlcdgo of the properties of the arch, and 
of the arch. ^^ ^Hck was more extensively used than any other 
material, the arch was invaluable. The imperial palace on 
Mount Palatine, the Pantheon, except its portico and in- 
ternal columns, the temples of Peace, of Venus and Rome, 
and of Minerva Medica, were of brick. So were the great 
baths of Titus, Caracalla, and Diocletian, the villa of Adrian, 
the city walls, the villa of Mecsenas at Tivoli, and most of 
the palaces of the nobility ; although, like many of the 
temples, they were faced with stone. The Colosseum 



Chap. IV.] The Roman Arch, 161 

was of travertine faced with marble. It was the custom 
to stucco the surface of the walls, as favorable to decora- 
tions. In consequence of this invention, the Romans 
erected a greater variety of fine structures than either the 
Greeks or Egyptians, whose public edifices were chiefly 
confined to temples. The arch entered into uses of the 
almost every structure, public or private, and ^''''^• 
superseded the use of long stone beams, which were neces- 
sary in the Grecian temples, as also of wooden timbers, in 
the use of which the Romans were not skilled, and which 
do not really pertain to the art of architecture. An impos- 
ing building must always be constructed of stone or brick. 
The arch also enabled the Romans to economize in the use 
of costly marbles, of which they were very fond, as well 
as of other stones. Some of the finest columns were made 
of Egyptian granite, ver}^ highly polished. 

The extensive application of the arch doubtless led to 
the deterioration of the Grecian architecture, since it 
blended columns with arcades, and thus impaired the 
jiarmony which so peculiarly marked the temples of 
Athens and Corinth. And as taste became vitiated with 
the decline of the Empire, monstrous combinations took 
place, which were a great fall from the simplicity of the 
Parthenon, and the interior of the Pantheon. 

But whatever defects marked the age of Diocletian and 
Constantino, it can never be questioned that the Romans 
carried architecture to a perfection rarely attained in our 
times. They may not have equaled the severe simplicity 
of their teachers, the Greeks, but they surpassed Magnificence 

1 .1 .1 p 1 • 1 • 1 ♦ °f Roman 

them ni the richness ot then' decorations, and in architecture. 
all buildings designed for utility, especially in private 
houses and baths and theatres. 

The Romans do not seem to have used other than semi- 
circular arches. The Gothic, or Pointed, or Christian 
architecture, as it has been variously called, was the crea- 
tion of the Middle Ages, and arose nearly simultaneously 
11 



1^2 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

in Europe after the first Crusade, so that it would seem to 
be of Eastern origin. But it was a graft on the old Roman 
arch, — in the shape of an ellipse rather than a circle. 
Aside from this invention, to which we are indebted for 
the most beautiful ecclesiastical structures ever erected, we 
owe every thing in architecture to the Greeks and Ro- 
mans. We have found out no new principles which were 
not equally known to Vitruvius. No one man was the in- 
ventor or creator of the wonderful structures which orna- 
mented the cities of the ancient world. We have the 
names of great architects, who reared various and faultless 
models, but they all Avorked upon the same principles. 
And these can never be subverted. So that in architect- 
ure the ancients are our schoolmasters, whose genius we 
revere the more we are acquainted with their works. 
What more beautiful than one of those grand temples 
which the heathen but cultivated Greeks erected to the 
worship of their unknown gods; the graduated and re- 
ceding stylobate as a base for the jfluted columns, rising at 
Tolumnsta''^ I'^g^^lar distauces, in all their severe proportion 
architecture, and matchlcss harmony, with their richly carved 
capitals, supporting an entablature of heavy stones, most 
elaborately moulded and ornamented with the figures of 
plants and animals, and rising above this, on the ends of 
the temple, or over a portico several columns deep, the 
pediment, covered by chiseled cornices, with still richer 
ornaments rising from the apices and at the feet; all 
carved in white marble, and then spread over an area 
larger than any modern churches, making a forest of 
columns to bear aloft those ponderous beams of stone, with- 
out any thing tending to break the continuity of horizontal 
lines, by which the harmony and simplicity of the whole 
are seen. So accurately squared and nicely adjusted were 
the stones and pillars of which these temples were built, 
that there was scarcely need of even cement. Without 
noise or confusion or sound of hammers did those temples 



Chap. IV.] Origin of Sculpture, 163 

rise, since all their parts were cut and carved in the distant 
quarries, and with mathematical precision. And within 
the cella, nearly concealed by the surrounding columns, 
were the statues of the gods, and the altars on which in- 
cense was offered,, or sacrifices made. In every part, 
interior and exterior, do we see a matchless proportion and 
beauty, whether in the shaft, or the capital, or the frieze, 
or the pilaster, or the pediment, or the cornices, or even 
tlie mouldings — everywhere grace and harmony, which 
grow upon the mind the more they are contemplated. 
The greatest evidence of the matchless creative genius 
displayed in those architectural wonders is that, after 
two thousand years, and with all the inventions of Roman 
and modern artists, no improvement can be made, and 
those edifices which are the admiration of our own times 
are deemed beautiful as they approximate the ancient 
models which will forever remain objects of imitation. 
No science can make two and two other than four. No 
art can make a Doric temple different from the Parthenon 
without departing from the settled principles of beauty and 
jn'oportion which all ages have endorsed. Such were the 
Greeks and Romans in an art which is one of the o-reatest 
indices of material civilization, and which by them was 
derived from geometrical forms, or the imitation of 
Nature. 



^ The genius displayed by the ancients in sculpture, is 
even more remarkable than in architecture. It was car- 
ried to perfection, however, only by the Greeks. But 
they did not originate the art, since we read of sculptured 
images from the remotest antiquity. The earliest names 
of sculptors are furnished by the Old Testament. Assyria 
and Egypt are full of relics to show how early this art was 
cultivated. It was not carried to perfection as early, prob- 
ably, as architecture ; but rude images of gods, carved in 



164 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

wood, are as old as the history of idolatry. The history 
of sculpture is in fact identified with that of idols. It was 
from Phoenicia that Solomon obtained the workmen for 
the decoration of his Temple. But the Egyptians were 
probably the first who made considerable advances in the 
execution of statues. They are rude, simple, uniform, 
without beauty or grace, but colossal and grand. Nearly 
two thousand years before Christ, the walls of Thebes were 
ornamented with sculptured figures, even as the gates of 
Babylon were of sculptured bronze. The dimensions of 
Egyptian colossal figures surpass those of any other nation. 
The sitting figures of Memnon at Thebes are fifty feet in 
height, and the Sphinx is twenty-five, and these are of 
granite. The number of colossal statues was almost in- 
credible. The sculptures found among the ruins of Carnac 
must have been made nearly four thousand years ago.^ 
They exhibit great simplicity of design, but without much 
variety of expression. They are generally carved from 
the hardest stones, and finished so nicely that we infer that 
the Egyptians were acquainted with the art of harden- 
ino; metals to a deo-ree not known in our times. But we 
see no ideal grandeur among any of the remains of Egyp- 
tian sculpture. However symmetrical or colossal, there is 
no expression, no trace of emotion, no intellectual force. 
Every thing is calm, impassive, imperturbable. It was not 
Perfection uutil sculpture Came into the hands of the Greeks 
sculpture. that any remarkable excellence was reached. But 
the progress of development was slow. The earliest carv- 
ings were rude wooden images of the gods, and more than 
a thousand years elapsed before the great masters were 
produced which marked the age of Pericles. 

It is not my object to give a history of the development 
of the plastic art, but to show the great excellence it at- 
tained in the hands of immortal sculptors. 

The Greeks had an intuitive perception of the beautiful, 

1 Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians. 



Chap. IV.] Perfeetiou of Grecian Sculpture, 165 

and to this great national trait we ascribe the wonderful 
progress which sculpture made. Nature was most care- 
fully studied, and that which was most beautiful in Nature 
became the object of imitation. They ever attained to an 
ideal excellence, since they combined in a single statue what 
could not be found in a single individual, as Zeuxis is said 
to have studied the beautiful forms of seven virgins of Cro- 
tona in order to paint his famous picture of Venus. Great 
as was the beauty of Jfhryne, or Aspasia, or Lais, yet no 
one of them could have served for a perfect model. And 
it required a great sensibility to beauty in order to select 
and idealize what was most perfect in the human figure. 
Beauty was adored in Greece, and every means were used 
to perfect it, especially beauty of form, which is the char- 
acteristic excellence of Grecian statuary. The gymnasia 
were universally frequented, and the great prizes of the 
games, bestowed for feats of strength and agility, were re- 
garded as the highest honors which men could receive — 
the subject of the poet's ode and the people's ad- Admiration 
miration. Statues of the victors perpetuated their among^^iJe'^ 
fame and improved the sculptor's art. From the ^^®®'^^- 
study of these statues were produced those great creations 
which all subsequent ages have admired. And from the 
application of the principles seen in these forms we owe 
the perpetuation of the ideas of grandeur and beauty such 
as no other people have ever discovered and scarcely ap- 
preciated. The sculpture of the human figure became a 
noble object of ambition, and was most munificently re- 
warded. Great artists arose, whose works adorned the 
temples of Greece, so long as she preserved her indepen- 
ence ; and when it was lost, their priceless productions 
were scattered over Asia and Europe. The Romans espe- 
cially seized what was most prized, whether or not they 
could tell what was most perfect. Greece lived Hi-^hestima 
in her marble statues more than in her govern- Jureamong^ 
ment or laws. And when we remember the es- *^® Greeks. 



166 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. rv. 

timation in which sculpture was held, the great prices paid 
for masterpieces, the care and attention with which they 
were guarded and preserved, and the innumerable works 
which were produced, filling all the public buildings, espe- 
cially consecrated places, and even open spaces, and the 
houses of the rich and great, — calling from all classes 
admiration and praise, — it is improbable that so great per- 
fection will ever be reached again in those figures which 
are designed to represent beauty of form. Even the com- 
paratively few statues which have survived the wars and 
violence of two thousand years, convince us that the mod- 
erns can only imitate. They can produce no creations 
which were not surpassed by Athenian artists. " No me- 
chanical copying of Greek statues, however skillful the 
copyist, can ever secure for modern sculpture the same 
noble and effective character it possessed among the 
Greeks, for the simple reason that the imitation, close as 
may be the resemblance, is but the result of the eye and 
hand, while the original is the expression of a true and 
deeply felt sentiment. Art w^as not sustained by the pat- 
ronage of a few who affect to have what is called taste. 
In Greece, the artist, havino; a common feelino; for the 
beautiful with his countrymen, produced his works for the 
pubHc, which were erected in places of honor and 'dedi- 
cated in temples of the gods." ^ 

But it was not until the Persian wars awakened in 
Greece the slumbering consciousness of national power, 
and Athens became the central point of Grecian civiliza- 
tion, that sculpture, like architecture and painting, reached 
Phidias and its Culminating point of excellence, under Phid- 

his contem- . i i • • r^ • i 

poraries. las and liis Contemporaries. Great artists, how- 
ever, had previously made themselves famous, like Miron, 
Polycletus, and Ageladas ; but the great riches which 
flowed into Athens at this time gave a pecuh'ar stimulus to 
art, especially under the encouragement of such a ruler as 

1 Encychpedia Britannica, " Sculpture," R. W. T. 



Chap. IV.] Colossal Statues. 167 

Pericles, whose age was the golden era of Grecian history, 
Pheidias or Phidias was to sculpture what ^schjlus was to 
tragic poetry, sublime and grand. He was born four hun- 
dred and eighty-four years before Christ, and was the pupil 
of Ageladas. He stands at the head of the ancient sculpt- 
ors, not from what we know of him, for his masterpieces 
have perished, but from the estimation in which he was 
held by the greatest critics of antiquity. It was to him 
that Pericles intrusted the adornment of the Parthenon, 
and the numerous and beautiful sculptures of the frieze and 
the pediment were the work of artists whom he directed. 
His o-reat work in that wonderful edifice was the statue of 
the goddess Minerva herself, made of gold and ivory, forty 
feet in height, standing victorious with a spear in her left 
hand and an image of victory in her right ; girded with the 
£egis, with helmet on her head, and her shield resting by 
her side. The cost of this statue may be estimated when 
the gold alone of which it was composed was valued at 
forty-four talents.^ Another of his famous works was a 
colossal bronze statue of Athena Promachus, sixty feet in 
iieight, on the Acropolis, between the Propyla^a and the 
Parthenon. But both of these yielded to the colossal 
statue of Zeus in his great temple at Olympia, The statue 
represented in a sitting posture, forty feet high, on Phidiaa. 
a pedestal of twenty. In this, his greatest work, the artist 
sought to embody the idea of majesty and repose, — of a 
supreme deity no longer engaged in war with Titans and 
Giants, but enthroned as a conqueror, ruling with a nod 
the subject world, and giving his blessing to those victories 
which gave glory to the Greeks.^ So famous was this 

1 This sum was equal to $500,000 of our money, an immense sum in that age. 
Some critics suppose that this statue was overloaded with ornament, but all an- 
tiquity was unanimous in its admiration. The exactness and finish of detail 
■svere as remarkable as the grandeur of the proportions. 

2 The god was seated on a throne. Ebony, gold, ivory, and precious stones 
formed, with a multitude of sculptured and painted figures, the wonderful com- 
position of this throne. 



168 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. IV. 

statue, which was regarded as the masterpiece of Grecian 
art, that it was considered a calamity to die without seeing 
it ; and this served for a model for all subsequent repre- 
sentations of majesty and power in repose among the an- 
cients. It was removed to Constantinople by Theodosius I., 
and was destroyed by fire in the year 475. Phidias exe- 
cuted various other famous works, which have perished ; 
but even those that were executed under his superintend- 
ence, that have come down to our times, like the statues 
which ornamented the pediment of the Parthenon, are 
among the finest specimens of art which exist, and exhibit 
the most graceful and appropriate forms which could have 
been selected, uniting grandeur with simplicity, and beauty 
with accuracy of anatomical structure. His distinguish- 
ing excellence was ideal beauty, and that of the sublimest 
order.^ 

Of all the wonders and mysteries of ancient art, the 
Colossal colossal statucs of ivory and gold were perhaps 
iwry^ami ^hc most remarkable, and the difficulty of exe- 
^^^^' cuting them has been set forth by the ablest of 

modern critics, like Winkelmann, Heyne, and De Quincy. 
" The grandeur of their dimensions, the perfection of their 
workmanship, the richness of their materials ; their maj- 
esty, beauty, and ideal truth ; the splendor of the archi- 
tecture and pictorial decoration with which they were as- 
sociated, all conspired to impress the beholder wdth wonder 
and awe, and induce a belief of the actual presence of the 
god." 

After the Peloponnesian War, a new school of art arose 
in Athens, which appealed more to the passions. Of this 
The school scliool was Praxitclcs, who aimed to please, with- 
of Praxiteles. ^^^^ scekiuo; to clcvatc or instruct. No one has 
probably ever surpassed him in execution. He wrought 
in bronze and marble, and was one of the artists who 
adorned the Mausoleum of Artemisia. Without attempt- 

1 MuUer, De Phidue Vita. 



Chap. IV.] Praxiteles and Scopas, 169 

ing the sublime impersonation of the deitj, in which 
Phidias excelled, he was misurpassed in the softer graces 
and beauties of the human form, especially in female fig- 
ures. His most famous work was an undraped statue of 
Yenus, for his native town of C nidus, which was so re- 
markable that people flocked from all parts of Greece to 
see it. He did not aim at ideal majesty so much as ideal 
gracefulness, and his works were imitated from the most 
beautiful living models, and hence expressed only the ideal 
of sensual charms. It is probable that the Venus de Med- 
ici of Cleomenes was a mere coj)j of the Aphrodite of Prax- 
iteles, which was so highly extolled by the ancient authors. 
It was of Parian marble, and modeled from the celebrated 
Phryne. His statues of Dionysus also expressed the most 
consummate physical beauty, representing the god as a 
beautiful youth, crowned with ivy, engirt with a nebris, and 
expressing tender and dreamy emotions. Praxiteles sculpt- 
ured several figures of Eros, or the god of love, of which 
that at Thespise attracted visitors to the city in the time of 
Cicero. It was subsequently carried to Rome, and per- 
ished by a conflagration in the time of Titus. One of the 
most celebrated statues of this artist was an Apollo, many 
copies of which still exist. His works were very numerous, 
but chiefly from the circle of Dionysus, Aphrodite, and 
Eros, in which adoration for corporeal attractions is the 
most marked peculiarity, and for which the artist was 
fitted by his life with the hetserae. 

Scopas was his contemporary, and was the author of the 
celebrated group of Niobe, which is one of the 
chief ornaments of the gallery of sculpture at 
Florence. He flourished about three hundred and fifty 
years before Christ, and wrought chiefly in marble. He 
was employed in decorating the Mausoleum which Arte- 
misia erected to her husband, one of the wonders of the 
world. His masterpiece is said to ha\e been a group rep- 
resenting Achilles conducted to the island of Leuce by the 



170 Ai't in the Roman Empire. [Chap. rv. 

divinities of the sea, which ornamented the shrine of Do- 
mitius in the Flaminian Circus. In this, tender grace, 
heroic grandeur, daring power, and luxurious fullness of 
life were combined with wonderful harmony.^ Like the 
other great artists of this school, there was the grandeur 
and sublimity for which Phidias was celebrated, but a 
greater refinement and luxury, and skill in the use of 
drapery. 

Sculpture in Greece culminated, as an art, in Lysippus, 
who worked chiefly in bronze. He is said to 

Lysippus. T n n ^ ^ ^ 

have executed niteen hundred statues, and was 
much esteemed by Alexander the Great, by whom he was 
extensively patronized. He represented men, not as they 
were, but as they appeared to be ; and, if he exaggerated, 
he displayed great energy of action. He aimed to idealize 
merely human beauty, and his imitation of Nature was 
carried out in the minutest details. None of his works are 
extant ; but as he alone was permitted to make the statue 
of Alexander, we infer that he had no equals. The Em- 
peror Tiberius transferred one of his statues, that of an 
athlete, from the baths of Agrippa to his own chamber, 
which so incensed the people that he was obliged to restore 
The works of ^^- ^^^ favoritc subjcct was Hercules, and a co- 
Lysippus. ]ossal statue of this god was carried to Rome by 
Fabius Maximus, when he took Tarentum, and afterwards 
was transferred to Constantinople. The Farnese Hercules 
and the Belvidere Torso are probably copies of this work. 
He left many eminent scholars, among whom were Chares, 
who executed the famous Colossus of Rhodes, Agesan- 
der, Polydorus, and Athenodorus, who sculptured the 
group of the " Laocoon." The Rhodian School was the 
immediate offshoot from the school of Lysippus at Sicyon, 
and from this small island of Rhodes the Romans, when 
they conquered it, carried away three thousand statues. 
The Colossus was one of the wonders of the world, seventy 

1 MuUer, 125. 



Chap. IV.] Degeneracy of Art after Lysippus. 171 

cubits in height, and the Laocoon is a perfect miracle of 
art, in which group pathos is exhibited in the highest de- 
gree ever attained in sculpture. It was discovered in 1506 
near the baths of Titus, and is one of the choicest remains 
of ancient plastic art. 

The great artists of antiquity did not confine themselves 
to the representation of man ; but they also carved animals 
with exceeding accuracy and beauty. Nicias was famous 
for his dogs, Myron for his cows, and Lysippus for his 
horses. Praxiteles composed his celebrated lion after a 
livino; animal. " The horses of the frieze of the Elo-in 
Marbles appear to live and move ; to roll their eyes, to 
gallop, prance, and curvet ; the veins of their faces and 
legs seem distended with circulation. The beholder is 
charmed with the deer-like lio-htness and elegance of their 
make ; and althouo^h the relief is not above an inch from 
the back- ground, and they are so much smaller than 
nature, we can scarcely suffer reason to persuade us they 
are not alive." ^ 

The Greeks also carved gems, cameos, medals, and vases, 
with unapproachable excellence. Very few speci- cameos and 
mens have come down to our times, but those ™^<i*^- 
which we possess show great beauty both in design and 
execution. 

Grecian statuary commenced with ideal representations 
of deities, and was carried to the greatest perfection by Phid- 
ias in his statues of Jupiter and Minerva. Then succeeded 
the school of Praxiteles, in which the figures of gods and 
goddesses were still represented, but in mortal forms. The 
school of Lysippus was famous for the statues of celebrated 
men, especially in cities where Macedonian rulers resided. 
Artists were expected henceforth to glorify kings and pow- 
erful nobles and rulers by portrait statues. The plastic art 
then degenerated. Nor were works of original genius pro- 
duced, but rather copies or varieties from the three great 

1 Flaxman, Lectures on Sculpture. 



172 Art in the Roman Empire. [Chap. rv. 

schools to which allusion has been made. Sculpture may 
have multiplied, but not new creations ; although some 
imitations of great merit were produced, like the " Her- 
maphrodite," the " Torso," the Farnese " Hercules," and 
Sack of the the " Fifrhtinp; Gladiator." When Corinth was 

Grecian * 

cities. sacked by Mummius, some of the finest statues 

of Greece were carried to Rome, and after the civil war 
between Caesar and Pompey the Greek artists emigrated to 
Italy. The fall of Syracuse introduced many works of 
priceless value into Rome ; but it was from Athens, Del- 
phi, Corinth, Elis, and other great centres of art, that the 
richest treasures were brought. Greece was despoiled to 
ornament Italy. The Romans did not create a school of 
sculpture. They borrowed wholly from the Greeks, yet 
made, especially in the time of Hadrian, many beautiful 
statues. They were fond of this art, and all eminent men 
had statues erected to their memory. The busts of em- 
perors were found in every great city, and Rome was filled 
with statues. The monuments of the Romans were even 
more numerous than those of the Greeks, and among them 
some admirable .portraits are found. These sculptures did 
not express that consummation of beauty and grace, of 
refinement and sentiment, which marked the Greeks ; but 
the imitations were good. Art had reached its perfection 
under Lysippus ; there was nothing more to learn. Genius 
in that department could soar no higher. It will never 
rise to loftier heiMits. 

It is noteworthy that the purest forms of Grecian art 
arose in its earlier stages. In a moral point of view, sculpt- 
ure declined from the time of Phidias. It was prosti- 
Pcgencracy tutcd at Romc uudcr tlic emperors. The speci- 
the iiomans. mcus wliich havo oftcu bccu found amono; the 
ruins of ancient baths make us blush for human nature. 
The skill of execution did not decline for several centu- 
ries ; but the lofty ideal was lost sight of, and gross ap- 
peals to human passions were made by those who sought to 



Chap. IV.] The Greeks the Schoolmasters, 173 

please corrupt leaders of society in an effeminate age. 
The turgiditj and luxuriance of art gradually passed into 
tameness and poverty. The reliefs on the Arch of Con- 
stantine are rude and clumsy compared with those on the 
Column of Marcus Aurelius. 

But I do not wish to describe the decline of art, or enu- 
merate the names of the celebrated masters who exalted 
sculpture in the palmy days of Pericles, or even Alexan- 
der. I simply allude to sculpture as an art which reached 
a great perfection among the Greeks and Romans, as we 
have a right to infer from the specimens which have been 
preserved. How many more must have perished, we may 
infer from the criticisms of the ancient authors ! The 
finest productions of our own age are in a measure repro- 
ductions. They cannot be called creations, like the statue 
of the Olympian Jove. Even the Moses of imitation of 
Michael Angelo is a Grecian god, and the Greek ^^"^^t^^^*- 
Slave a copy of an ancient Venus. The very tints which 
have been admired in some of the works of modern sculpt- 
ors are borrow^ed from Praxiteles, who succeeded in giv- 
ing an appearance of living flesh. The Museum of the 
Vatican alone contains several thousand specimens of an- 
cient sculpture which have been found among the debris 
of former magnificence, many of which are the produc- 
tions of Grecian artists transported to Rome. Among 
them are antique copies of the Cupid and the Faun of 
Praxiteles, the statue of Demosthenes, the Minerva Med- 
ica, the Athlete of Lysippus, the Torso Belvidere, sculpt- 
ured by Apollonius, the Belvidere Antinous, of faultless 
anatomy and a study for Domenichino, the Laocoon, so 
jianegyrized by Pliny, the Apollo Belvidere the work of 
Agasias of Ephesus, the Sleepy Ariadne, with numerous 
other statues of gods and goddesses, emperors, philosophers, 
poets, and statesmen of antiquity. The Dying Gladiator, 
which ornaments the capitol, alone is a magnificent proof 
of the perfection to which sculpture was brought centuries 



174 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

after the art had culminated at Athens. And these are 
only a few which stand out among the twenty thousand 
recovered statues which now embellish Italy, to say nothing 
of those which are scattered over Europe. We have the 
names of hundreds of artists who were famous in their day. 
Not merely the figures of men are chiseled, but animals 
and plants. Nature, in all her forms, w^as imitated ; and 
not merely Nature, but the dresses of the ancients are per- 
petuated in marble. No modern sculptor has equaled, in 
delicacy of finish, the draperies even of those ancient stat- 
ues, as they appear to us after the exposure and accidents 
of tw^o thousand years. No one, after a careful study of 
the museums of Europe, can question that, of all the na- 
tions who have claimed to be civilized, the ancient Greek 
and Roman deserve a proud preeminence in an art which 
is still regarded as among the highest triumphs of human 
genius. All these matchless productions of antiquity, it 
should be remembered, are the result of native genius 
alone, without the aid of Christian ideas. Nor, with the 
aid of Christianity, are we sure that any nation will ever 
soar to loftier heights than did the Greeks in that proud 
realm which was consecrated to Paganism. 

We are not so certain in regard to the excellence of the 
ancients in the art of painting as we are in reference to 
sculpture and architecture, since so few specimens have 
been preserved. We have only the testimony of the an- 
cients themselves ; and as they had so severe a taste and 
so great susceptibility to beauty in all its forms, w^e cannot 
suppose that their notions were crude in this great art 
which the moderns have carried to so great perfection. In 
this art the moderns may be superior, especially in per- 
spective and drawing, and light and shade. No age, we 
fancy, can surpass Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth cen- 
turies, when the genius of Raphael, Correggio, and Do- 
nicnichino blazed with such wonderful brilliancy. 



Chap. IV.] Antiquity of Painting, 175 

Nevertheless, we read of celebrated schools among the 
ancients, all of which recognized form as the great prin 
ciple and basis of the art, even like the moderns. The 
schools of Sicyon, Corinth, Athens, and Rhodes were in- 
debted for their renown, like those of Bologna, Florence, 
and Rome, to their strict observance of this fundamental 
law. 

Painting, in some form, is very ancient, though not so 
ancient as the temples of the gods and the statues Antiquity of 
which were erected to their worship. It arose p^i^^^^^^s- 
with the susceptibility to beauty of form and color, and 
with the view of conveying thoughts and emotions of the 
soul by imitation. The walls of Babylon were painted 
after Nature with different species of animals and combats. 
Semiramis was represented on horseback, striking a leop- 
ard with a dart, and her husband Ninus wounding a lion. 
Ezekiel (viii. 10) represents various idols and beasts por- 
trayed upon the walls, and even princes, painted in ver- 
milion, with girdles around their loins (xxiii. 14, 15). In 
ages almost fabulous there were some rude attempts in this 
art, which probably arose from the coloring of statues and 
reliefs. The wooden chests of Egyptian mummies are 
painted and written with religious subjects, but the colors 
were laid without regard to light and shade. Painting 
The Egyptians did not seek to represent the pas- Egyptfans^. 
sions and emotions which agitate the soul, but rather to 
authenticate events and actions ; and hence their paint- 
ings, like hieroglyphics, are inscriptions. It was their great 
festivals and religious rites which they sought to perpet- 
uate, not ideas of beauty or grace. Hence their paintings 
abound with dismembered animals, plants, and flowers, cen- 
sers, entrails, — whatever was used in their religious wor- 
ship. In Greece, also, the original painting consisted in 
coloring statues and reliefs of wood and clay. At Corinth, 
painting was early united with the fabrication of vases, on 
which were rudely painted figures of men and animals. 



176 Art in the Roman Umpire. [Chap, iv 

Among the Etruscans, before Rome was founded, it is said 
there were beautiful paintings, and it is probable they were 
advanced in art before the Greeks. There were paintings 
in some of the old Etruscan cities which the Roman em- 
perors wished to remove, so much admired were thej even 
in tlie days of the greatest splendor. The ancient Etrus- 
can vases are famous for desio;ns which have never been 
exceeded in purity of form, but it is probable that these 
were copied from the Greeks. 

But whether the Greeks or the Etruscans were the 
first to paint, the art was certainly carried to the greatest 
perfection among the former. The development of it was, 
like all arts, very gradual. It probably commenced by 
drawing the outline of a shadow, without intermediate 
markings ; the next step was the complete outline with 
the inner markings, such as are represented on the ancient 
vases, or like the designs of Flaxman. They were origi- 
nally practiced on a white ground. Then light and shade 
were introduced, and then the application of colors in ac- 
cordance with Nature. We read of a great painting by 
Bularchus, of the battle of Magnete, purchased by a king 
of Lydia seven hundred and eighteen years before Christ. 
And as the subject was a battle, it must have represented 
the movement of figures, although we know nothing of 
the coloring, or of the real excellence of the work, except 
cimon of ^^^^^ ^^^ artist was paid munificently. Cimon of 
cieona. Cleona is the first great name connected with the 
art in Greece, and is praised by Pliny, to whom we owe 
the history of ancient painting more than to any other au- 
thor. He was contemporary with Dionysius in the eightieth 
Olympiad. He was not satisfied with drawing simply the 
outlines of his figures, such as we see in the oldest painted 
vases, but he also represented limbs, and folds of garments. 
He invented the art of foreshortening, or the various posi- 
tions of figures, as they appear when looking upward or 
downward and sideways, and hence is the first painter of 



Chap. IV.] Polygnotus, 177 

perspective. He first made muscular articulations, indi- 
cated the veins, and gave natural folds to drapery.^ 

A much greater painter than he was Polygnotus of 
Thasos, the contemporary of Phidias, who came to Athens 
about the year 463 B. c, one of the greatest geniuses of 
any age, and one of the most magnanimous ; and had the 
good fortune to live in an age of exceeding intellectual 
activity. He was employed on the public buildings of 
Athens, and on the great temple of Delphi, the hall of 
which he painted gratuitously. He also decorated the 
Propylsea, which was erected under the superintendence 
of Phidias. His greatness lay in statuesque Greatness of 
painting, which he brought nearly to perfection ani^l^s^'^^ 
by the ideal expression, the accurate drawing, ^^^°'^^- 
and improved coloring. He used but few colors, and soft- 
ened the rigidity of his predecessors by making the mouth 
of beauty smile. He was the first who painted woman 
with brilliant drapery and variegated head-dresses. He 
gave great expression to the face and figure, and his pict- 
ures were models of excellence for the beauty of the eye- 
brows, the blush upon the cheeks, and the gracefulness of 
the draperies. He was a great epic painter, as Phidias 
was a sculptor, and Homer a poet, since he expressed not 
passion and emotion only, but ideal character. He imi- 
tated the personages and the subjects of the old mythol- 
ogy, and treated them in an epic spirit. He strove, like 
Phidias, to express character in repose. His subjects 
were almost invariably taken from Homer and the Epic 
cycle. His pictures had nothing of that elaborate group- 
ing, aided by the powers of perspective, so much admired 
in modern art. His figures were grouped in regular lines, 
as in the bas-reliefs upon a frieze. He painted on panels 
which were afterward let into the walls. He used the 
pencil, instead of painting in encaustic with the cestrum. 

Among the works of Polygnotus, as mentioned by 

1 Pliny, XXXV. 34. 
12 



178 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. rv. 

Pliny ,^ are his paintings in the Temple at Delphi, in the 
Portico called Poecile at Athens, in the Propyl^ea of the 
Acropolis, in the Temple of Theseus, and in the Temple 
of the Dioscuri at Athens. He took his subjects from the 
whole range of Epic poetry, but we know nothing of them 
except from the praises of his contemporaries.^ His great 
merit is said to have consisted in accurate drawing, and in 
Peculiarities giviug gracc and charm to his female figures, 
tus. He painted in a truly religious spirit, and upon 

symmetrical principles, with great grandeur and freedom, 
resembling Michael Angelo more than any other modern 
artist. Like the Greeks, he painted with wax, resins, and 
in water colors, to which the proper consistency was given 
with gum and glue. The use of oil was unknown. The 
artists painted upon wood, clay, plaster, stone, parchment, 
but not upon canvas, which was not used till the time of 
Nero. They painted upon tablets or panels, and not upon 
the walls. These panels were framed and encased in the 
walls. The style or cestrum used in drawing, and for 
spreading the wax colors, was pointed on one end and flat 
on the other, and generally made of metal. Wax was 
prepared by purif^^ing and bleaching, and then mixed with 
colors. When painting was practiced in water colors, glue 
was used with the white of an egg or with gums, but wax 
and resins were also worked with water, witli certain prep- 
arations. This latter was called encaustic, and was, accord- 
ing to Plutarch, the most durable of all methods. It was 
not generally adopted till the time of Alexander the Great. 
Wax was a most essential ingredient, since it prevented 
the colors from cracking. Encaustic painting was prac- 
ticed both with tlie cestrum and the pencil, and the colors 
were also burnt in. Fresco was used for coloring walls, 
which were divided into compartments or panels. The 
Fresco compositiou of the stucco, and the method of 

painting. preparing the walls for painting, is described by 

1 H. N. XXX. 9, s. 35. 2 Pausanias, x. 25-31. 



Chap. IV.] Fresco Painting, 179 

the ancient writers : " They first covered the walls with 
a layer of ordinary plaster, over which, when dry, were 
successively added three other layers of a finer quality, 
mixed with sand. Above these were placed three layers 
of a composition of chalk and marble-dust, the upper one 
being laid on before the under one was dry, by which pro- 
cess the different layers were so bound together that the 
whole mass formed one beautiful and solid slab, resembling 
marble, and was capable of being detached from the wall 
and transported in a wooden frame to any distance. The 
colors were applied when the composition was still wet. 
The fresco wall, when painted, was covered with an en- 
caustic varnish, both to heighten the color and preserve 
it from the effects of the sun or the weather. But this 
process required so much care, and was attended with so 
much expense, that it was used only in the better houses 
and palaces." The later discoveries at Pompeii show the 
same correctness of design in painting as in sculpture, and 
also considerable perfection in coloring. The great artists 
of Greece were both sculptors and painters, like Michael 
Angelo. Phidias and Euphranor, Zeuxis and Protogenes, 
Polygnotus and Lysippus, were both. And the ancient 
writers praise the paintings of these great artists as much 
as their sculpture. The Aldobrandini IVJarriage, found on 
the Esquiline Mount, during the pontificate of Clement 
VIII., and placed in the Vatican by Pius VII., is admired 
both for drawing and color. Polygnotus was praised by 
Aristotle for his designs and by Lucian for his color.^ 

Dionysius and Micon were the great contemporaries of 
Potygnotus, the former of whom was celebrated contem- 

n I- . XT' • 1 n • • porariesof 

tor nis portraits. His pictures were deficient in Polygnotus. 
the ideal, but were remarkable for expression and ele- 
gant drawing.^ Micon was particularly skilled in paint- 
ing horses, and was the first who used for a color the 

1 Poetica of Aristotle, c. 286. Imagines of Z/ucian, c. 7. 

2 Plutarch, Timol. 36. 



180 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

light Attic ochre, and the black made from burnt vine 
twigs. He painted three of the walls of the Temple 
of Theseus, and also the walls of the Temple of the Dios- 
curi. 

With Apollodorus, of Athens, a new development was 
The school made in the art of pain-ting. Through his labors, 
dorus. about 408 B. c, dramatic effect was added to the 

style of Polygnotus, without departing from his pictures 
as models. " The acuteness of his taste," says Fuseli, " led 
him to discover that, as all men were connected by one 
general form, so they were separated each by some pre- 
dominant power, which fixed character and bound them to 
a class. Thence he drew his line of imitation and person- 
ified the central form of the class to which his object be- 
longed, and to which the rest of its qualities administered, 
without being absorbed ; agility was not suffered to de- 
stroy firmness, solidity, or weight ; nor strength and weight 
. agility ; elegance did not degenerate to effeminacy, nor 
grandeur swell to hugeness." ^ His aim was to deceive 
the eye of the spectator by the semblance of reality. He 
]>ainted men and things as they really appeared. He also 
made a great advance in coloring. He invented chiaro-os- 
curo. Other painters had given attention to the proper 
gradation of light and shade ; he heightened this effect by 
the gradation of tints, and thus obtained what the moderns 
call tone. He was the first who conferred due honor on 
the pencil — " primusque gloriam penicillo jure contulit." ^ 

This great painter prepared the way for Zeuxis,^ who 
PecuUarities belonged to liis school, but who surpassed him in 
a painter. tlic power to givc ideal form to rich effects. He 
began his great career four hundred and twenty-four years 
before Christ, and was most remarkable for his female fig- 
ures. His " Helen," painted from five of the most beau- 
tiful women of Croton, was one of the most renowned pro- 
ductions of antiquity, to see which the painter demanded 

1 Fuseli, Lect. I. 2 PUny, H. N. xxxv. 11. » Born 455 b. c. 



Chap. IV.] Contemporaries of Zeuxis, 181 

money. He gave away his pictures, because, with an artist's 
pride, he maintained that their price could not be estimated. 
There is a tradition that Zeuxis laughed himself to death 
over an old woman painted by him. He arrived at illusion 
of the senses, regarded as a high attainment in art, as in 
the instance recorded of his grapes. He belonged to the 
Asiatic school, whose head-quarters were at Ephesus, the 
peculiarities of which were accuracy of imitation, the exhi- 
bition of sensual charms, and the gratification of sensual 
tastes. He went to Athens about the time that the sculpt- 
ure of Phidias was completed, which modified his style. 
His marvelous powers were displayed in the contrast of 
light and shade which he learned from Apollodorus. He 
gave ideal beauty to his figures, but it was in form rather 
than in expression. He taught the true method of group- 
ing, by making each figure the perfect representation of the 
class to which it belonged. His works were deficient in 
those qualities which elevate the feelings and the character. 
He was the Euripides rather than the Homer of his art. 
He exactly imitated natural objects, which are incapable of 
ideal representation. His works were not so numerous as 
they were perfect in their way, in some of which, as in the 
Infant Hercules strangling the Serpent, he displayed great 
dramatic power.^ Lucian highly praises his Female Cen- 
taur as one of the most remarkable paintings of the world, 
in which he showed great ingenuity in his contrasts. His 
Jupiter Enthroned is also extolled by Pliny, as one of his 
finest works. He acquired a great fortune, and lived 
ostentatiously. 

Contemporaneous with him, and equal in fame, was 
Parrhasius, a native of Ephesus, whose skill lay parrhasius 
in accuracy of drawing, and power of expression. ^^ Ephesus 
He gave to painting true proportion, and attended to mi- 
nute details of the countenance and the hair. In his gods 
and heroes, he did for painting what Phidias did in sculpt- 

1 Lucian on Zeuxis. 



182 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

ure. His outlines were so perfect as to indicate those 
parts of the figure which they did not express. He estab- 
hshed a rule of proportion which was followed by all suc- 
ceeding artists. While many of his pieces were of a lofty 
character, some were demoralizing. Zeuxis yielded the 
palm to him, since he painted a curtain which deceived his 
rival, whereas Zeuxis painted grapes which deceived only 
birds. He was exceedingly arrogant and luxurious, and 
boasted of having reached the utmost limits of -his art. 
He combined the magic tone of Apollodorus with the 
exquisite design of Zeuxis, and the classic expression of 
Polygnotus. 

Many were the eminent painters that adorned the fifth 
century before Christ, not only in Athens, but the Ionian 
Contempora- citics of Asia. Timauthcs of Sicyon was distin- 

riesof ... 

Zeuxis. guished for invention, and Eupompus of the same 
city founded a school. His advice to Lysippus is memora- 
ble — " Let Nature, not an artist, be your model." Proto- 
genes was celebrated for his high finish. His Talissus took 
him seven years to complete. Pamphilus was celebrated 
for composition, Antiphilus for facility, Theon of Samos 
for prolific fancy, Apelles for grace, Pausias for his chia- 
ro-oscuro, Nicomachus for his bold and rapid pencil, Aris- 
tides for depth of expression. 

The art probably culminated in Apelles, the Titian of 
Artcuimi- liis acre, who United the rich coloring and sensual 
Apelles. charms of the Ionian with the scientific severity 
of the Sicyonian school. He was contemporaneous with 
Alexander, and was alone allowed to paint the picture of 
the great conqueror. He was a native of Ephesus, stud- 
ied under Pamphilus of Amphipolis, and when he had 
gained reputation he went to Sicyon and took lessons from 
Melanthius. He spent the best part of his life at the court 
of Philip and Alexander, and painted many portraits of 
these great men and of their generals. He excelled in 
portraits, and labored so assiduously to perfect himself in 



Chap, iv.] Decline of Painting after Apelles, 183 

drawing that he never spent a day without practicing.^ 
He made great improvement in the mechanical part of his 
art, and also was the first who covered his picture with a 
thin varnish, both to preserve it and bring out the colors. 
He invented ivory black. His distinguishing excellence 
was grace, " that artless balance of motion and repose, 
springing from character, founded on propriety, which 
neither falls short of the demands nor overleaps the mod- 
esty of Nature." ^ His great contemporaries may have 
equaled him in perspective, accuracy, and finish ; but he 
added a grace of conception and refinement of taste which 
placed him, by the general consent of ancient authors, at 
the head of all the painters of the world. His greatest work 
was his Venus Anadyomene, or Venus rising out TheVenus 
of the sea, in which female grace was personified. °^ -^^pe^i^s. 
The falling drops of water from her hair form a transpa- 
rent silver veil over her form. It cost one hundred tal- 
ents,^ and was painted for the Temple of jEsculapius at 
Cos, and afterwards placed by Augustus in the temple 
which he dedicated to Julius Caesar. The lower part of it 
becoming injured, no one could be found to repair it. Nor 
was there an artist who could complete an unfinished pict- 
ure which he left. He was a man who courted criticism, 
and who was unenvious of the fame of rivals. He was a 
great admirer and friend of Protogenes of Khodes, who 
was his equal in finish, but who never knew, as Apelles 
did, when to cease correcting.* 

After Apelles, the art of painting declined, although 
great painters occasionally appeared, especially from the 
school of Sicyon, which was renowned for nearly two hun- 
dred years. The destruction of Corinth by Mummius, 
B. c. 146, gave a severe blow to Grecian art. He carried 

1 Pliny, XXXV. 12. 2 Fuseli, Lect. I. 

8 £243xl00-=£24300x5=$121,500. 

4 Cicero, Brut. 18 ; Be Orat. iii. 7. Martial, xxx. 9. Ovid, Art. Anc. iii. 403. 
Pliny, XXXV. 37. 



184 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap, rv 

to Rome more works, or destroyed them, than all his pred- 
ecessors combined. Sylla, when he spoiled Athens, in- 
flicted a still greater injury, and, from that time, artists 
resorted to Rome and Alexandria and other flourishing 
cities for patronage and remuneration. The masterpieces 
of famous artists brought enormous prices, and Greece and 
Asia were ransacked for old pictures. The paintings which 
introduc- ^milius Paulus brought from Greece required 
uresinto*'*' ^^^ huudrcd and fifty wagons to carry them in 
Rome. ^i^g triumphal procession. With the spoliation 

of Greece, the migration of artists commenced, and this 
spoliation of Greece and Asia and Sicily continued for two 
centuries ; and such was the wealth of Rhodes in works 
of art that three thousand statues were found for the con- 
querors. Nor could there have been less at Athens, Olym- 
pia, or Delphi. Scaurus had all the public pictures of 
Sicyon transported to Rome. Verres plundered every 
temple and public building in Sicily. 

Thus Rome was possessed of the finest paintings of the 
world, without the slightest claim to the advancement of 
the art. And if the opinion of Sir Joshua Reynolds is 
correct, art could soar no higher in the realm of painting, 
High value ^^ wcll as of statuary. Yet the Romans learned 
them^on^ to place as high value on the works of Grecian 
painting. genius as the English do on the paintings of the 
old masters of Italy and Flanders. And if they did not 
add to the art, they gave such encouragement that, under 
the emperors, it may be said to have been flourishing. 
Varro had a gallery of seven hundred portraits of eminent 
men.^ The portraits as well as the statues of the great 
were placed in the temples, libraries, and public buildings. 
The baths especially were filled with paintings. 

The great masterpieces of the Greeks were either his- 
Subject* torical or mythological. Paintings of gods and 

among the . n . ^ i • l. 

GreekB. hcrocs, groups 01 men and women, m which 

1 Pliny, H. N. xxx. 2. 



Chap. IV.] Roman Painting, 185 

character and passion could be delineated, were the most 
liighly prized. It was in the expression given to the hu- 
man figure — in beauty of form and countenance, in 
which all the emotions of the soul as well as the graces of 
the body were portrayed — that the Greek artists sought 
to reach the ideal, and to gain immortality. And they 
painted for people who naturally had taste and sensibility. 

Among the Romans, portrait, decorative, and scene 
painting engrossed the art, much to the regret of such 
critics as Pliny and Vitruvius. Nothing could be in more 
execrable taste than a colossal painting of Nero, one hun- 
dred and twenty feet high. From the time of Augustus, 
landscape decorations were common, and were carried out 
with every species of license. Among the Greeks we do 
not read of landscape painting. This has been Landscape 
reserved for our age, and is much admired, as it p^"^*™s- 
was at Rome in its latter days. Mosaic gradually super- 
seded painting in Rome. It was first used for floors, but 
finally walls and ceilings were ornamented with it, Hke 
St. Peter's at Rome. Many ancient mosaics have been 
preserved which attest beauty of design of the highest 
character, like the Battle of Issus, lately discovered at 
Pompeii. 

In fact, neither statuary nor painting was advanced by 
the Romans. They had no sensibility, or conception of 
ideal beauty. The divine spark of genius animated the 
Greeks alone. Still the wonders of Grecian art were pos- 
sessed by the Romans, and were made to adorn those 
grand architectural monuments for which they had a taste. 
Greek productions w^ere not merely matters of property, 
they were copied and reproduced in all the cities of the 
Mediterranean ; and though no artist of original genius 
arose from Augustus to Constantino, galleries of art existed 
everywhere in which the masterpieces of Polygnotus, Pau- 
sias, Aristides, Timanthes, Zeuxis, Parrhasius, Pamphilus, 
Euphranor, Protogenes, Apelles, Timomachus, and of 



186 Art in the Roman Empire, [Chap. iv. 

other illustrious men, were objects of as much praise as 
the fifalleries of Dresden and Florence. 

" The o-lorious art of these masters, as far as regards 
tone, light, and local color," says Miiller, " is lost to us, and 
we know nothing of it except from obscure notices and 
later imitations ; on the contrary, the pictures on vases 
Probable g^^^ ^^ the most cxaltcd idea of the progress and 
thfan*dentf achievements of the arts of design." ^ It is sur- 
m painting, poising that, witli four colors, the Greeks should 
have achieved such miracles of beauty and finish as are 
represented by the greatest cities of antiquity. The great 
wonders of the schools of Ephesus, Athens, and Sicyon 
have perished, and we cannot judge of their merits as we 
can of the statues which have fortunately been preserved. 
Whether Polygnotus was equal to Michael Angelo, Zeuxis 
to Raphael, and Apelles to Titian, we have no means of 
settling. But it is scarcely to be questioned that critics 
like the Greeks, whose opinions respecting architecture 
and sculpture coincide with our own, could have erred in 
their verdicts respecting those great paintings which ex- 
torted the admiration of the world, and were held, even in 
the decline of art, in such high value, not merely in the 
cities where they were painted, but in those to which they 
were transferred. What has descended to our times, like 
the mural decorations of Pompeii and the designs on vases, 
go to prove the perfection which was attained in painting, 
as well as sculpture and architecture. 

And thus, in all those arts of which modern civilization 
is proudest, and in which the genius of man has soared 
to the loftiest heights, the ancients were not merely our 
equals : they were our superiors. It is greater to originate 
than to copy. In architecture, in sculpture, and in paint- 
perfectionof iug the Grecks attained absolute perfection. Any 
the ancients, arcliitcct of our time, who should build an edifice 
in different proportions than those which were recognized 

1 Muller, Ancient Art, 143. 



Chap. IV.] Greatness of the Ancients in Art. 187 

in the great cities of antiquity, would make a mistake. 
Who can improve upon the Doric columns of the Parthe- 
non, or the Corinthian capitals of the Temple of Jupiter? 
Indeed, it is in proportion as we accurately copy the fault- 
less models of the age of Pericles that excellence with us is 
attained. When we differ from them we furnish grounds 
of just criticism. So, in sculpture, the Greek Slave is a 
reproduction of an ancient Venus, and the Moses of Mi- 
chael Angelo is a Jupiter in repose. It is only when the 
artist seeks to bring out the purest and loftiest sentiments 
of the soul, and such as only Christianity can inspire, that 
he may hope to surpass the sculpture of antiquity in one 
department of the art alone — in expression, rather than 
beauty of form, on which no improvement can be made. 
And if we possessed the Venus of Apelles, as we can boast 
of having the sculptured Venus of Cleomenes, we should 
probably discover greater richness of coloring, as well as 
grace of figure, than in that famous Titian which is one 
of the proudest ornaments of the galleries of Florence, 
and one of the greatest marvels of Italian art. 

References. — Winckelmann's History of Ancient Art ; Miiller's 
Remains of Ancient Art ; A. J. Guattani, Antiq. de la Grande Grece ; 
Mazois, Antiq. de Pomp. ; Sir W. Gill, Pompeiana ; Donaldson's An- 
tiquities of Athens ; Vitruvius, Stuart, Chandler, Clarke, Dodwell, 
Cleghorn, De Quincey. These are some of the innumerable authori- 
ties on Architecture among the ancients. 

In Sculpture, Pliny and Cicero are the most noted critics. There is 
a fine article in the Encyclopedia Britannica on this subject. In 
Smith's Dictionary are the lives and works of the most noted masters. 
Miiller's Ancient Art alludes to the leading masterpieces. Montfau- 
<jon's Antiquite expliquee en Figures ; Specimens of Ancient Sculpture, 
by the Society of Diettanti, London, 1809; Ancient Marbles of the 
British Museum, by Taylor Combe ; Millin, Introduction k I'Etude des 
Monumens Antiques ; Monumens Inedits d' Antiquite figuree, recuellis 
et publics par Raoul-Rochette ; Gerhard's Archaol. Zeit. ; David's Es- 
sai sur le Classement Chronol. des Sculpteurs Grecs les plus celebres. 

In Painting, see Caylus, Memoires de I'ac des Inscr. Levesque, sur 
les Progres suceessifs de la Peinture chez les Grecs ; 1. 1. Grund, Mah- 



188 Art in the Roman Empire. [Chap. iv. 

lerei der Griechen ; Meyer's Kunstgischlchte ; Miiller, Hist, of An- 
cient Art ; Article on Painting, Ency. Brit., Article " Pictura," 
Smith's Diet. ; Fuseli's Lectures ; Sir Joshua Reynolds' Lectures. 
Lanzi's History of Painting refers to the revival of the art. Vitruvius 
speaks at some length on ancient wall paintings. The finest specimens 
of ancient painting are found in catacombs, the baths, and the ruins 
of Pompeii. On this subject, Winckelmann is the great authority. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE ROMAN CONSTITUTION. 

It is not from a survey of the material grandeur, or the 
arts, or the mihtary prowess of Rome that we get the 
highest idea of her civihzation. These indicate strength 
and even genius ; but the checks and balances which were 
gradually introduced into the government of the city and 
empire, by which society was kept together, and a great 
prosperity secured for centuries, also show great foresight 
and practical wisdom. A State which favored individual 
development while it promoted law and order ; which se- 
cured liberty, while it made the government stable and 
respectable ; which guaranteed rights to the poorer citi- 
zens, while it placed power in the hands of those who were 
most capable of wielding it for the general good, is well 
worth our contemplation. The idea of aggrandizement 
was, it must be confessed, the most powerful which entered 
into the Roman mind ; but the principles of national unity, 
the welfare of citizens, the reign of law, the security of prop- 
erty, the network of trades and professions, also received 
attention there. The aspirations for liberty and national 
prosperity never left the Roman mind. The Ro- The Roman 
mans were great creators of civilization, though in civilization. 
a different sense from the Greeks. What the principles of art 
were to the Greeks, those of government were to the Ro- 
mans. If the Greeks made statues, the Romans made laws. 
If the former speculated on the beautiful, or the The Romans 
good, or the true, the latter realized the boast of govern 
Diogenes — the power to govern men. The passion for 
government was the most powerful which a Roman citizen 



190 The Roman Constitution, [Chap. v. 

felt, next to the passion for war. For five hundred years 
after the expulsion of the kings, there was the most perfect 
system of checks and balances in the government of the 
state known in the ancient world, and which is scarcely 
rivaled in the modern. Power was so wisely distributed 
that not even a successful general was able to gain a dan- 
gerous preeminence. Every citizen was a politician, and 
every Senator a statesman. For five hundred years there 
was neither anarchy nor military despotism. If every 
citizen knew how to fight, every citizen also knew how to 
govern, to submit. No consul dared to exceed his trust : no 
general, till Caesar, ventured to cross the Rubicon. The 
Roman Senate never lost its dignity — a supreme body 
which controlled all public interests. The Romans were 
sufficiently wise to bend to circumstances. Though proud, 
the patricians made concessions to plebeians whenever it 
was necessary. The right of citizenship was gradually 
extended throughout the Empire. Paul lived in a remote 
city of Asia Minor, but, by virtue of his citizenship, could 
appeal to a higher court than that of the governor. The 
Romans succeeded, by their wisdom, in extending their in- 
stitutions over the countries they had conquered ; and every 
part of the Empire was well governed even when military 
despotism had overturned the ancient constitution. There 
were, of course, cases of extortion and injustice, and most 
governors made large fortunes ; yet the provinces were bet- 
ter administered, and the rule was more in accordance with 
justice than under the native princes. Throughout the 
vast limits of the Empire, life and property were safe, and 
the roads were free of robbers ; nor were there riots in the 
cities, except on very rare occasions, in which they were 
put down with merciless severity. Yet a few hundred 
men were enough to preserve order in the largest cities, 
and a few thousand in the most extensive provinces. 
M>'mr?t'to*°^ Even under the most tyrannical emperors, jus- 
thJoIJ^h laws. *^^^ ^^^ order were enforced. The government 



Chap. V.] Rome, 191 

was never better administered than by Tiberius, and 
further, was never better administered than when he was 
abandoned to pleasure in his guarded villa at Capri. There 
was the passion to govern the world, but in accordance 
with laws. The rule of the Romans was not that of brute 
force, even when the army was at the control of the Em- 
perors. The citizens, to the last, enjoyed great social and 
political rights. They had great immunities, in reference 
to marriage, and the making of wills, and the possession of 
property. Their persons were secured from the disgrace 
of corporal punishment ; they could appeal from the decision 
of magistrates ; they were eligible to public offices ; they 
were exempted from many oppressive taxes which still 
grind down the people in the most civilized states of 
Europe. The government of Octavius was the mildest 
despotism ever known to the ancient world. That Ulysses 
of state craft exercised the most extensive powers under 
the ancient forms, and all the early emperors disguised 
rather than paraded their powers. Contented with real 
power, the Roman was careless of its display. He had the 
tact to rule without seeming to rule ; but rule he .must, 
though not until he had first learned to obey — obedience 
to laws and domination were inseparably connected. This 
made the Roman yoke endurable, because it was not 
offensive or unjust. The Romans were masters of the 
world by conquest, yet ruled the world they R^pan sense 
had subdued by arms in accordance with laws *>^J"s*i<^«- 
based on the principles of equity. This sense of justice, 
in the enjoyment of unbounded domination, undoubtedly 
gave permanence to their government. The centurion 
was ever present to enforce a decree, but the decree was 
in accordance with justice. This was the idea, the recog- 
nized principle of government, although often abused. 
Paul appealed to Ccesar. He might have been released by 
the governor, had he not appealed. Here was justice to 
Paul in allowing the appeal ; and still greater justice in 
keeping him in bonds until acquitted by Caesar himself. 



192 The Roman Constitution. [Chap. V. 

It must, however, be confessed that, after the Caesars 
Degeueracy Were fairlj established on their throne, a great 
perors. ' indifference to pubhc affairs ensued. Every 
office was then, directly or indirectly, in the hands of the 
emperor. Cicero expressed the popular sentiment of his 
day when he said, " that was the most perfect government 
which was a combination of popular and aristocratic 
authority ; " — but in the eighth century of the city, the 
system of checks and balances would have fallen to pieces in 
the hands of a degenerate people. A constitutional monarchy 
even was no longer possible. The vices of the oligarchy, 
and the fierce reactions of the democracv, had destroyed all 
the dreams of the earlier patriots. The mass of the 
people had long been passive under the sway of factions 
and political intriguers, and they resigned themselves to the 
despotism of the emperor without a struggle. But even in 
this degradation the power of government remained among 
the leading classes. The governors of provinces, taken gene- 
skiuof the rally from the Senate and the nobles, were skillful 
government, in their administration of public affairs. They 
were enlightened in all political duties. The traditional 
ideas of government survived for several generations, even 
as the mechanism of the army made it powerful after all 
real spirit had fled. The Roman still regarded himself 
as the favorite of the gods, destined to achieve a vast 
mission, even the reduction of the world to political unity. 
Augustus made every effort, while he reigned, in the ruin 
of political institutions, to revive the forms and traditions 
of other days. The patricians were favored and honored, and 
the Senate still was made to appear august, with a pros- 
trate world at its feet, to which it was bound to dictate 
laws and institutions. .Political unity was the grand idea 
of the Romans, and this idea has survived to our own 
times. It was one of the great elements of Roman civili- 
On what the zatiou. Uuivcrsal empire was based, in the 
WM baaed, better days of the Republic, on public morality, 



Chap. V "• Excellence of the Roman Government. 193 

in the iron discipline of families, in a marvelously well- 
trained soldiery, in a military system which made the civil 
society an army almost ready for the field, in a recognition 
of public rights and duties, in a wise system of colonization, 
in conciliatory conduct to the conquered races, and in a 
central power as the dispenser of all honor and emoluments. 
The civil wars broke up, in a measure, this wise and con- 
siderate policy ; still citizenship extended to all parts of the 
empire, even when it was manifest it must soon fall into 
the hands of barbarians. And as for the administration of 
justice, it was probably better conducted under the emper 
ors than under the supreme rule of the Senate. Government 

the great art 

li/ven bad emperors knew how to govern, io and science 

.1 ^ ' IT of the 

the Roman mmd every thmg was subordmate to Romans. 
the art of government. And every characteristic fitted 
the Romans to govern — energy of will, practical good 
sense, the conception of justice, an unyielding pride, 
fortitude, courage, and lust of power. And the spirit 
of domination w^as carried out into every thincr. It was 
made a science, an art. Whatever would contribute to the 
ascendency of the state was remorselessly adopted ; what- 
ever would interfere with it was abandoned or swept away. 
Fierce and tolerant by turns, and as circumstances 
prompted — such was the Roman. With submission life 
was easy, and the government was mild. And the 
supreme government rarely entrusted power except to 
faithful, capable, and patriotic rulers. The wisest and best 
were selected for important offices. The governors of 
provinces were men of great experience ; they were 
generals and senators who had passed their term of active 
service. They easily made great mistakes. They carried 
out the policy of the State. They were acquainted with 
laws, and the customs of the people whom they ruled. 
They were versed in the literature of their day. They 
were men of dignity and fortune. They were moderate, 
conciliatory, and firm. They were models for rulers for 

13 



194 The Roman Constitution. [Chap, v.' 

all subsequent ages. There were, of course, exceptions, 
but the small number of riots and rebellions shows the con- 
tentment of the people, for they were not ground down by 
oppressive laws and exactions, until their spirit was broken. 
How munificent were the emperors to such cities as 
Athens and Alexandria ! Athens was the seat of learning 
and culture, to the very end of the empire. Arts and 
literature and science were fostered in all the cities. They 
were adopted as parts of the empire, not treated like con- 
quered territories. After the destruction of Carthage, 
the Romans had no jealousy of cities that once were 
equals. Their arts were made to subserve Roman great- 
ness, indeed, but they were left free to develop their re- 
Prosperityof sourccs. The development of resources was a 
ment vital principle of the Roman government. Spain, 

Syria, and Egypt, were never more prosperous than under 
the imperial rule. All the provinces were more thriving 
under the emperors than they had been under their an- 
cient kino's, until the era of barbaric invasions. If war 
had been the mission of the republic, peace was the pride 
of the empire. There were no wars of importance for 
three hundred years, except those of necessity. The end 
of the emperors was to govern, to preserve peace, and 
secure obedience to the laws. 

But we must bear in mind that, whatever were the pop- 
Thearistoc- ^^^^ Hghts cujoycd iu tlic republican era, and 
Srs^ofthe however vast were the powers wielded by the 
state. emperors after liberty had fled, yet the consti- 

tution of Roman society was essentially aristocratic. All 
the great conquests were made under the rule of patricians, 
and all the leading men under the emperors were nobles. 
The government was virtually, from first to last, in the 
hands of the aristocracy. Still there was an important 
popular element, especially in the latter days of the re- 
public, to which revolutionary leaders appealed, like the 
Gracchi, Marius, Catiline, and Caesar. One of the most 



Chat. V.] Incapacity for Self- Government, 195 

humiliating lessons which we learn of antiquity, we are 
forced to own, was the signal incapacity of the peo- Defects of 
pie to govern themselves, when they had obtained ascendency. 
a greater share of power than the old constitution had 
allowed. The republic did not long survive when success- 
ful generals and eloquent demagogues were sustained by 
the people. Had Rome been a democracy, as some sup- 
pose, the empire never could have been established. We 
comfort ourselves, however, by the reflection, that when 
the people surrendered themselves to factions and dema- 
gogues and tyrants, they were both ignorant and depraved. 
Self-government has never yet succeeded, because there 
have never been virtue and intelligence among the masses. 
So long as we can boast of virtue and intelligence among 
t!ie people, we need not despair with the government in 
their hands. An enlightened self-interest will suggest the 
wisest policy. We only despair of the government of the 
people when they are ignorant, brutal, and The people 

. , 1 . , . -, . , unfit to gov- 

wicked. As there was no period in the an- em when 
cient world when they were not unenlightened, ened. ° 
we are reconciled to the fact that a wise and vigorous 
administration of public affairs was always conducted by 
kings or nobles who had intelligence and patriotism, if 
they were proud and imperious. Whatever faith we may 
justly cherish in reference to popular sovereignty, grounded 
on the principles of natural justice, and the hopes v/hich 
are held out as the fruit of Christian ideas, still, as a fact, 
there is but little in the history of the Roman common- 
wealth which reflects much glory on the people, except 
when controlled and marshalled by the aristocracy. Just 
so far as the popular element prevailed, the state popular eie- 
was hurried on to ruin. The aristocratical ele- RomalT*^* 
rnent had the ascendency when Rome was most ^***®" 
prosperous and most respected. Yet, while the Roman con- 
stitution was essentially aristocratic for five hundred years, 
it had a strong popular element mingled with it. The 



196 The Homan Constitution. [Chap. v. 

patricians had the chief power, but they were not lords and 
masters in so absohite a sense as to trample on the people 
with impunity, nor were they able to deprive them of their 
rights, or of all share in the government. They were not 
feudal nobles, nor a Venetian oligarchy. And yet it were 
a mistake to suppose that the distinction between the 
classes implied that the aristocratic power was lodged with 
RichPiebe- ^^^^ patriciaus alone. The patricians were not 
greaun'^* ueccssarily aristocrats, nor the plebeians a rabble. 
thTgovem- The pohtical distinctions passed away without 
™®'^*" destroying social inequalities. There were great 

families among the plebeians which really belonged to the 
aristocratic class, at least in tlie time of Cicero. Aristoc- 
racy may have been based on birth, as in England, but 
it was sustained by wealth, as in that country. A very 
rich man gained, ultimately, admission to the noble class, 
as Rothschild has in London. Without weaUh to uphold 
distinctions, any aristocracy soon becomes contemptible. 
That organization of society is most aristocratic which con- 
fers great political and social privileges on a few men, and 
retams these privileges from generation to generation, as in 
France during the reign of Louis XV. -The state of 
society at Rome under the republic, favored the monopoly 
of offices among powerful families. It was considered 
very remarkable for even Cicero to rise to the highest 
honors of the state with his magnificent genius, character, 
attainments, and services ; but he shared the consulsliip 
with a man of very ordinary capacity. The great offices 
were all in the hands of the aristocracy, from the expul- 
sion of the kings to the times of Julius Cifisar. Even the 
tribunes of the people ultimately were selected from power- 
ful families. 

The Roman people — Romanus populus — under the 
kings, the original citizens, were the warriors who built 
ThePatri- Rome, and conquered the surrounding cities and 
districts. They were called patres, which is sy- 



eions 



Chap. V.] Constitution of the Aristocracy, 197 

nonymous with Patricians.^ They were united among 
themselves by kindred and by pohtical and reh'gious 
ties. They supported themselves by agriculture, although 
engaged continually in war. They consisted originally 
of three tribes, which gradually were united into the 
sovereign people. The first tribe was a Latin colony, 
and settled on the Palatine Hill ; the second were Sabine 
settlers on the Quirinal ; the third were Etruscans, 
who occupied the Cgelian, They were distinct, at first, 
and were not united fully till the time of Tarquinius 
Prisons, himself an Etruscan.^ As there were no 
other Roman citizens but these patricians, they had no 
exclusive rio;hts under the kino;s, and hence there was then 
no aristocracy of birth. Each of these three tribes of 
citizens consisted of ten curiae, and each curia of ten 
decuries, or gentes. The three tribes, therefore, contained 
three hundred gentes. A gens was a family, and the 
gentes were aggregates of kindred families.^ The name of 
a gens was generally characterized by the termi- The Roman 
nation eia or ia^ as Julia, Cornelia, and it is to be ^^"^" 
presumed that each gens had a common ancestor. But 
with the growth of the city it came to pass that a gens 
often included a great number of families ; we read of three 
hundred Fabii forming the gens Fabia in the year 275. 
These families composed, ultimately, the aristocracy. They 
were the people who filled all offices, and alone had the 
right of voting in the assemblies. As the gentes were 
subdivisions of the three ancient tribes, the populus alone 
had gentes.) so that to be a patrician and to have a gens 
were synonymous. With the growth of Rome new 
gentes or families were added which did not claim descent 
from the ancient tribes. The powerful gens of the 
Claudia came to Rome with Atta Claudius, their head, 
after the expulsion of the kings. Tullus Hostilius incor- 
porated the Juhi, Servilii and other gentes with the patri- 

1 Cicero, De Repuh., ii. 12. Liv., i. 8. 

2 Diouys., ii. G2. " Nieb., Lect. V. 



198 The Roman Constitution. [Chap. V, 

cians. This ruling class, the descendants of the con- 
querors, became a powerful aristocracy, and ultimately 
learned to value pride of blood. There are very few names 
in Roman history, until the time of Marius, which did 
not belong to this noble class. What proud families were 
the Servilii, the Claudii, the Julii, the Cornelii, the Fabii, 
the Valerii, the Sempronii, the Octavii, the Sergii, and 
others.^ 

The Equites were originally elected from the patricians, 
and were cavalry soldiers, and did not form a distinct class 
till the time of the Gracchi. They were composed of rich 
citizens, whose wealth enabled them to become judlces. 
They had the privilege of wearing a gold ring, and had seats 
reserved for them, like the Senate, at the theatre and circus. 
They increased in number with the increase of wealth, and 
formed an honorable corps from which the highest officers 
of the army and the civil magistrates were chosen. Admis- 
sion to this body was an introduction to public life, and was 
a test of social position. It was composed of rich plebeians 
as well as patricians, and was based wholly on wealth. 
Pliny says, " It became the third order in the state, and 
to the title of Senatus Populusque Momanus^ there began 
to be added, et Equestris ordoT 

Beside this Romanus populus^ which constituted the 
ruling class under kings, was another body, made up of 
conquered people. In early times their number was small, 
nor did they appear as a distinct class until the reign of 
Tullus Hostilius. After the subjection of Alba, the 
head of the Latin Confederacy, great numj^ers were 
transferred to Rome, and received settlements on the 
Csellan Hill, and were kept under submission to the pa- 
tricians. As the Roman conquests extended, their numbers 
increased, until they formed the larger part of the popula- 
The Roman ^lou. They wcrc Called j:>Ze6s, or commonalty, and 
^^^^^' had no political privileges whatever. They had 

not even the right of suffrage ; but they were enrolled in 

1 Liv., i. 33. Dionys., iii. 31. 



Chap. V.] The Plebeians, 199 

the army/ and made to bear the expenses of the state. 
At first they were not allowed to intermarry with the 
patricians. Their oppression provoked resistance. The 
struggle which ensued is one of the most memorable in 
Roman history. The haughty oligarchy were obliged grad- 
ually to concede rights. These rights the plchs retained. 
First they gained a law which prevented patricians from 
taking usurious interest. They secured the appointment of 
tribunes for their protection. Soon after they Tj^etri- 
had the right of summoning before their own ^""*^^- 
Comitia trihuta any one who violated their rights. In 449 
they had influence sufficient to establish the Connubium, 
by which they could intermarry with patricians. In 421 
the plebeians were admitted to the qusestorship. Then, 
after a fierce contest, they were made decemvirs. Their 
next rio;lit was the dignity of the consulship, and Gradual in- 

. . crease of 

this led to the dictatorship. In 351 they se- their power. 
cured the censorship, and in 336 the praetorship. Politi- 
cal distinctions now vanished. The possession of a share 
of the great offices created powerful families, and these 
were incorporated with the aristocracy. The great privi- 
lege of securing tribunes was the first step to political 
power, and the most important in the constitutional history 
of the state. And it was the tribunes who Their usurp- 
gradually usurped the greatest powers. They ^"*''^''' 
assumed the right, in 456, of convoking even the Senate. 
They also had the right to be present in the deliberations 
of the Senate ; as their persons were inviolable, they inter- 
ceded against any action which a magistrate might under- 
take during his term of office, and even a command issued 
by a praetor. They could compel the Senate to submit 
a question to a fresh consultation, and ultimately compelled 
the consuls to appoint a dictator. Their power grew to 
such a height that they acquired the right of proposing to 
the Comitia trihuta^ or the Senate, measures on nearly all 

1 Liv., i. 33. Dionys., iii. 31. 



200 Tlie Roman Constitution. [Chap. v. 

the important affairs of the state, and finally were elected 
from amono; the Senators themselves. 

ThrouMi the institution of tribunes, and other circum- 
Advance- stauces, espcciallv the increase of wealth, the 

ment of the ^ ^ - • • ii • i • • • r> 

Plebeians. plebeians, originally so unimportant and insignin- 
cant that they could not obtain admission into the Senate, 
nor the high offices of state, nor the occupancy of the 
public lands, ultimately obtained all the rights of the 
patricians, so that gradually the political distinctions be- 
tween patricians and plebeians vanished altogether, 286 
B. c, and the term populus was applied to them as well as 
to the patricians.^ 

These rights were only secured by bitter and fierce con- 
Graduaiin- tcsts, Tlic plebeians, during their long struggle, 

CrC£lS6 of* <-><—? 

their power, did not scck powcr to gratify their ambition, but 
to protect themselves from oppression. Nor was the power 
which they obtained abused until near the close of the 
Republic. 

But Avliile they ultimately were blended, politically, with 
the patricians, still the latter monopolized most of the 
great offices of the state until the time of Cicero, and 
socially, always were preeminent. Yet there were many 
noble plebeian families who were blended with the aris- 
tocratic class. Aristocracy survived, after the political 
distinctions between the two classes were abrogated. 
Rome was never a democracy. Great families, whether 
patrician or plebeian, controlled the State, either by their 
wealth or social connections. The Roman nobility was 
really composed of all the families rendered illustrious by 
the offices they had filled. And as the great officers were 
taken generally from the Senate, that body was particu- 
larly august. 

Until the usurpation of Csesar, the Senate was the great 
controlling power of the republic. It not only 
had pecuHar privileges and powers, but a monop- 

i Liv., iv. 44; v. 11, 12. Cicero de Eepub.^ ii. 37. 



Chap. V.] The Senate. 201 

oly of offices. It always remained powerful, in spite of the 
victories of the plebeians. The laws proclaimed equality, 
but for fifty-nine years after the plebeians had the right 
of appointment as military tribunes, only eighteen were 
plebeians,^ while two hundred and forty-six were patricians ; 
and while the right of admission to the Senate was ac- 
knowledged on principle, yet no one could enter it without 
having obtained a decree of the censor, or exercised a 
curule magistracy, — favors almost always reserved for the 
aristocracy. The Senate was a judicial and legislative 
body, and numbered for several centuries but three hun- 
dred men, selected from the patricians. At first they were 
appointed by the kings,' afterwards by the consuls, and 
subsequently by the censors. But as all those who had 
been appointed by the populus to the great offices had ad- 
mission into this body, the people, that is, the patricians, 
virtually nominated the candidates for the Senate. But all 
magistrates were not necessarily members of the Senate, 
only those whom the censors selected from among them, 
and the curule magistrates during their office. It was from 
these curule magistrates that vacancies were filled up. 
The office of senator was for life. When the plebeians 
obtained the great offices, the Senate of course Character 
represented the whole people, as it formerly had of senators. 
represented the populus. But it was never a democratic 
assembly, for all its members belonged to the nobles. It 
required, under Augustus, 1,200,000 sesterces to support 
the senatorial dignity. Only a rich man could be, there- 
fore, a senator. Nor could he carry on any mercantile 
business. The Senate was ever composed of men who 
had rendered great public services, or who were distin- 
guished for wealth and talents. It was probably the most 
dignified and the proudest body of men ever assembled. 
The powers of the Senate were enormous. It had the gen- 
eral superintendence of matters of religion and foreign rela- 

1 Hist. Julius Coesar, by Napoleon ; chap. ii. 5. 



202 The Roman Constitution. [Chap. v. 

tions ; it commanded the levies of troops ; it regulated 
duties and taxes ; it gave audience to ambassadors ; it pro- 
posed, for a long time, the candidates for office to the 
Comitia ; it determined upon the way that war should be 
conducted ; it decreed to what provinces the consuls and 
praetors should be sent ; it appointed governors of provinces ; 
it sent out embassies to foreign states ; it carried on the 
negotiations with foreign ambassadors ; it declared martial 
law in the appointment of dictators, and it decreed tri- 
The prerog- umplis to fortuuate gcucrals. In short it was the 

rative of . i i t 

Senators. supremc pow^cr ni the state, and was the medium 
through which all the affairs of government passed. It 
was neither an hereditary, nor a popular body, yet rep- 
resented the state — at first the patrician order, and 
finally the whole people, retaining to the end its aristo- 
cratic character. The senators wore on their tunics a 
broad purple stripe, — a badge of distinction, like a modern 
decoration, — and they had the exclusive rights of the or- 
chestra at theatres and amphitheatres.^ Under the emper- 
ors, the Senate was degraded, and was made entirely sub- 
servient to their will, and a mouth-piece ; still it survived all 
the changes of the constitution, and was always a dignified 
and privileged body. It combined, in its glory, more func- 
tions than the English Parliament ; it was convoked by 
the curule magistrates, and finally by the tribunes. The 
most ancient place of assembly was the Curia Hostilia, 
though subsequently many temples were used. The ma- 
jority of votes decided a question, and the order in which 
senators spoke and voted was determined by their rank, 
in the following order: president of the Senate, consuls, 
censors, praetors, a3diles, tribunes, quaestors. Their deci- 
sions, called Senatus Consulta^ were laws — leges — and 
were entrusted to the care of aediles and tribunes.^ 

Such was the Roman Senate — an assembly of nobles, 

1 See article in Smith's Diet, of AnU, by Dr. Schmitz. 

2 Nieb. Roman Hist., viii. p. 2G4. 



Chap, y.] Ble7iding of Patricians and People, 203 

whether patrician or plebeian. The descendants of all who 
had filled curnle magistracies were nohiles, and The senate 
had the privilege of placing in the atrium of the patricians 

, . 1 • 1 n ^ • ^^^ plebe- 

house the nnao-es and titles or their ancestors — ians. 
an heraldic distinction in substance. And as the patricians 
carried back their pedigree to the remotest historical period, 
there was great pride of blood. Few plebeians could 
boast of a remote and illustrious ancestry, and every 
plebeian who obtained a curule office, was the founder of 
his family's nobility, like Cicero — a novus homo. This no- 
bility contrived to keep possession of all the great offices, 
and it was difficult for a new man to get access to their 
ranks. The distinction of Patrician -and Plebeian was 
secondary, after the Gracchi, to that of Nohilitas, yet it 
was rare to find a patrician gens the families of which had 
not enjoyed the highest honors many times oven Thus 
tlie aristocracy was composed of the families of those who 
liad held the highest offices of the state ; but as these 
offices were controlled by the Senate and enjoyed by the 
patricians chiefly, it was difficult to determine whether 
nobility was the result of patrician blood, or the possession 
of great offices. A man could scarcely be a patrician who 
had not held a great office ; nor could he often hold a great 
office unless he were a patrician. The great r^j^^ ?>Qna.ie 
offices were held in succession by the members of grJft^offices 
tlie Senate. The two consuls, the ten tribunes, ^^ ®*^*®' 
the eight praetors in the time of Sulla — the twenty 
quaestors, together with the governors of provinces, and 
the generals who were selected from the Senate, or be- 
longed to it, would necessarily compose a large part of the 
nobility, when their term of office lasted but a limited 
time, so that a senator with any ability was sure, in the 
course of his life, of the highest honors of the state. 

The great executive officers, therefore, belonged to the 
noble class, not of necessity, but as a general thing. Cicero 
was a novus homo, and yet rose by his talents to the highest 



204 The Homan Constitution, [Chap. v. 

dignities. It was rare, however, to confer the highest of- 
Butoniy ficcs on those who had not distinguished them- 
haddistin- sclves in War. Mihtary fame, after all, gave 

guished . Fi. 

themselves, the greatest prestige to the Roman name. Con- 
suls commanded armies, but they would not have been 
chosen consuls except for military, as well as political, 
talent. 

The consul was, after the abolition of the monarchy, the 
highest officer of the state. It was not till the year 366 
B. c. that a plebeian obtained this dignity. The powers of 
consuls were virtually those of the old kings, with the ex- 
ception of priestly authority. They convened the Senate, 
introduced ambassadors, called together the people, con- 
ducted elections, commanded the armies and never 

71l6 consuls 

appeared in public without lictors. Nor were 
they shorn of their powers till Julius C^sar assumed the 
dictatorslilp. The whole internal machinery of the state 
was under their control. But their term of office lasted 
only a single year. Their election took place in the 
Coynitia Centuriata. 

The censors were next in dignity, and like 

the consuls, there were two, and elected in the 
same manner under the presidency of a consul ; only men 
of consular rank were chosen to this high office, and 
hence it was really higher than the consulship. The cen- 
sors were chosen for a longer term than the consuls, and 
had the oversight of the public morals, the care of the 
census, and the administration of the finances. They 
could brand with ignominy the highest persons of the state, 
and could elect to the Senate, and exclude from it un- 
worthy men. They had, with the asdiles, the control of 
the public buildings and all public works. They could 
take away from a knight his horse, and punish extrava- 
gance in living, or the improper dissolution of the marriage 
rite. They were held in the greatest reverence, and when 
they died were honored with magnificent funerals. 



Chap, v.] TJie Prcetors and Tribunes, 205 

Next in rank were the prastors, at first two in number, 
and ultimately sixteen. They exercised the ju- Theprae- 
dicial power, both in civil and criminal cases. *°^^' 

The asdiles were also curule magistrates, and to them 
was entrusted the care of the public buildings, 
and the superintendence of public festivals. 
They were the keepers of the decrees of the Senate, and 
of the plebiscita. They superintended the distribution of 
water, the care of the streets, the drainage of the city, 
and the distribution of corn to the people. It was their 
business to see that no new" deities were introduced, and 
they had the general superintendence of the police, and the 
inspection of baths. Their office entailed large expenses, 
and they were forced into great extravagance to gain pop- 
ularity, as in the case of Julius Caesar and ^milius 
Scaurus ; but the aediles exercised extensive powers, Avhich, 
however, were essentially diminished under the emperors. 

Allusion has already been made to' the tribunes in con- 
nection with the development of the plebeian Ti^etri- 
power. At first they were only two, then in- ^""^^' 
creased to five, and finally to ten. It was their business 
to protect the plebs from the oppression of nobles, but 
their authority was so much increased in the time of Julius 
Caesar that they could veto an ordinance of the Senate.^ 
They not only could stop a magistrate in his proceedings, 
but command their viatores to seize a consul or a censor, 
to imprison him, or throw him from the Tarpeian rock.^ 
The college of tribunes had the power of making edicts. 
After the passage of the Hortensian law, there was no power 
equal to theirs, and they could dictate even to the Senate 
itself. In the latter days of the republic, the tribunes were 
generally elected from among the senators. It was the 
vast influence which the people had obtained through the 
tribunes which led to the usurpation of Caesar ; for he, as 

1 Caesar, De Bell. Civ., 1, 2. 2 Liv. ii. 56, iv. 26 ; Cicero, De Legibus, iii. 9. 



206 . The Roman Constitution, [Chap. v. 

well as Marius, rose into power by courting them against 
the interests of the aristocracy. 

The last of the great magistrates whose office entitled 
The quaes- them to a Seat in the Senate were the quaestors, 
tors. ^^,^^Q 1^^^ charge of the public money. Originally 

only two in number, they were raised by Sulla to twenty, 
and by Csesar to forty, for political influence. As the 
Senate had the supreme direction of the finances they were 
merely its agents or paymasters. The proconsul or praetor, 
who had the administration of a province, was attended 
with a quaestor to regulate the collection of the revenues. 
The quaestors also were the paymasters of the army. 

Such were the great executive officers of the state, hav- 
ing a seat in the Senate, and belonging to the noble class by 
their official position as well as by birth. No one could 
be consul until he had passed through all these offices suc- 
cessively, except the censorship. 

There was, however, another great Roman dignitary 
Pontifex "^'^^^ held liis office for life, which was one of 
Maximus. trausccndent importance. He was at the head 
of the college of priests, which had the superintendence of 
all matters of religion. The college of pontiffs, of which, 
under Julius Caesar, there were sixteen, were not priests, 
but stood above all priests, and regulated the w^orship of 
the gods, and punished offenses against religion. The 
chief pontiff lived in a public palace in the Via Sacra, and 
might also hold other offices. It is a great proof of the 
talents of Caesar and of the estimation in which he was 
held, that, at the age of thirty-seven, he was chosen to 
this high dignity, against the powerful opposition of 
Catulus, prince of the Senate, and when he had only 
reached the aedileship. 

In regard to the assemblies of the people, where they 
Assemblies voted for the great officers of state, it must be 
pie. borne in mind that they were not made up of 

the rabble, but of the populus or the patricians till nearly 

.9 



Chap. V.] TJie Comitia. 207 

the close of the repubhc. Each of the thirty curia had its 
building for the discussion of political and legal questions. 
They had also collectively an assembly, called Comitia 
Curiata^ where the people voted on the measures proposed 
by the magistrates. The votes were given by the curiae, 
each curia having one collective vote. The assembly 
originated nothing, but decided upon the life of Roman 
citizens, upon peace and war, and the election of magis- 
trates. This was the primitive form under the kings. 
But Servius Tulhus instituted the Comitia Centuriata, and 
hence divided the populus into six property classes, and one 
hundred and ninety-three centurise. The first class was 
composed of ninety-eight, centurise, with a property qualifi- 
cation of one hundred thousand asses ; the second of twenty- 
two centurise with seventv-five thousand asses ; the third of 
twenty, with fifty thousand asses ; the fourth of twenty -two, 
with twenty-five thousand asses ; the fifth of thirty, with 
eleven thousand asses ; and the sixth of any one of those 
below twelve and a half minas. Yet this class was the most 
numerous. The wealthier classes voted first, and when a 
majority of the centuries was obtained the voting stopped. 
Hence the power was virtually in the hands of the rich ; 
for, united, they made a majority before the poorer classes 
were called upon to vote. The Comitia Centuriata The com- 
elected the magistrates and made laws, and formed nata. 
the highest court of appeal, but all its decisions had to be 
sanctioned by the curiae, although in course of time the 
curia was a formality. The centuries met in the Cam- 
pus Martins, and were presided over by the consuls, who 
read the names of the candidates. In the assemblies 
by centuries, the vote of the first class prevailed over all 
the others ; in the comitia by curiae the patricians were 
supreme. 

The Comitia Trihuta represented the thirty Roman 
tribes according to the Servian constitution, to TheComitia 
whom was originally given the right to elect in- '^"^"**- 



208 Tlie Roman Constitution. [Chap. v. 

ferior magistrates. This was a plebian assembly, and had 
very insignificant powers, chiefly relating to the local 
affairs of the tribes. But when these tribes beg-an to be 
real representatives of the people, with the increase of 
the plebeian classes, matters affecting the w^hole state w^ere 
brought before them by the tribunes. This gave to the 
assembly the initiative of measures, which was sanctioned 
by a law of L. Valerius Publicola, b. c. 449. This law gave 
to the decrees passed by the tribes the power of a real lex^ 
binding upon the whole people, provided it had the sanction 
of the Senate and the populus in the Comitia Centuriata. 
In 287 B. c. the Hortensian law made the plebiscita inde- 
pendent of the sanction of the Senate. When the plebeians 
began to be recognized as an essential element in the state, 
it was found inconvenient to have the first class, which in- 
cluded the equites, so greatly preponderant in the comitia 
of the centuries ; and it was designed to blend the Comitia 
Centuriata and the Th'ibuta in such a manner as to make 
onl}'' one assembly. This took place after the completion 
of the thirty-five tribes, b. c. 241. The citizens of each 
tribe were divided into five property classes, and each tribe 
into ten centuries, making three hundred and fifty centuries. 
This comitia was far more democratic than the comitia of 
the centuries, and was guided by the tribunes. When all 
the Italians were incorporated with the thirty-five tribes, 
Decline of violcuce and bribery became the order of the 
comitia. day. Sulla took away the jurisdiction of the peo- 
ple, and Julius Caesar encroached still more on popular 
rights when he decided upon peace and war in connection 
with the Senate — which great question was formerly 
settled by the comitia alone. The people retained nothing 
under him but the election of magistrates, which amounted 
to little, since Caesar had the right to appoint half the 
magistrates himself, with the exception of the consuls. 
After the death of Caesar, the comitia continued to be held, 
but w^as always controlled by the rulers, whose unlimited 



i 



Chap. V.] Autocratic Power always Great, 209 

powers were ultimately complied with without resistance. 
Finally the comitia became a mere farce, and all legislation 
passed away forever, and was completely in the hands of 
the emperor and Senate. 

Thus it would appear that the Koman constitution was 
essentially aristocratic, especially for three hundred years 
after the expulsion of kings. The Senate and the popidus 
had the whole power. Gradually, as wealth increased, the 
equites became an influential order, not less aristocrat- 
ical than the patricians. The pi ebs were not of much con- 
sideration till the time of the Gracchi, and always obtained 
ofl^ce with difficulty. It was two hundred years after the 
expulsion of kings before the plebeians could even obtain 
a share of the public lands. So long as the aristocracj'' 
preserved their virtue and patriotism, the state was most 
ably administered, and continually increased in wealth and 
power. The conquest of Italy was entirely under the 
regime of nobles, and even when wealthy plebeian families 
mingled with the ancient patricians there was still great 
difficulty in reaching preferment, without the advantages of 
birth.i Iyi fourteen years, from 399 to 412, the Thenobies 
patricians allowed only six plebeians to reach chkfVscen- 
the consulship. The lives of the citizens were ^^^^y- 
protected by the laws, but public opinion remained power- 
less at the assassination of those who incurred the hatred of 
the Senate. The comitia were free, but the Senate had 
at its disposal either the veto of the tribunes or the religious 
scruples of the people, for a consul could prevent the 
meeting; of the assemblies, and the auo-urs could cut short 
their deliberations. Even the dictatorship was often a 
means of oppressing the plebs, and was a lever in the hands 
of the aristocracy, since the dictator was appointed by the 
consuls under the direction of the Senate.^ He was a 
patrician as a matter of course, until the political 

.... , . . 1 1 ■> • '^^® dictator 

distmctions between patrician and pieoeian were 

1 Mommsen, Roman Eist., i. p. 2il. 2 Liv., viii. 23. 

14 



210 The Roman Constitution. [Chap. v. 

removed, and had absolute authority for six months. He 
was not held responsible for his acts while in office,^ nor 
was there any appeal from his decisions. He was pre- 
ceded by twenty-four lictors, and was virtually supreme. 
Between 390 and 416 there were eio-hteen dictators. 
The Senate thus remained all-powerful, in spite of the 
victories of the plebeians, and such were its patriotism and 
intelligence that it preserved its preponderance. It was 
during the conquest of Italy that aristocratic power 
shone in all its splendor, and the most able men were en- 
trusted with public affairs. Every thing was sacrificed to 
patriotism, and discipline was enforced with cruelty. The 
most powerful patricians readily exposed their lives in 
battle, and a town became a people which ultimatelj'- em- 
braced the world. When the plebeians had grown to 
be a power the decline of the republic commenced, and a 
new organization was necessary. Great chieftains became 
dictators for life, and the imperial sceptre was seized by an 
unscrupulous but enlightened general. The Roman ]popu- 
Theideaof lus in au important sense carried out the great 
ernment. idea of sclf-govemment, but, strictly speak- 
ing, self-government, as applied to the people generally, 
never existed in the Roman Commonwealth. But the 
idea was advanced which gave birth to future republics. 
Nor did the fall of the old patrician oligarchy divest the 
Roman commonwealth of its aristocratic character, for a 
new aristocracy arose. When the plebeian families ob- 
tained the consulate and other high offices of state, they 
were put on a level with the old patrician families, and 
were allowed the privilege of placing the wax images of 
their illustrious ancestors in the family hall, and to have 
these images carried in the funeral procession. As curule 
magistrates, they had a seat in the Senate, and wore 
the insignia of rank — the gold finger-ring and the 
purple border on the toga. " The result of the Licinian 

1 Becker, Ilandbuch der Romanisch AUerthUmer, vii. p. 2; Nieb. History of 
Pome. vol. i. d. 5G3. 



Chap. V.] The Senate the Ruling Power, 211 

laws," says Mommsen, " in reality, only amounted to 
what w^e now call the creation of a new batch of officers."^ 
As all the descendants of those w^ho had enjoyed the 
curule magistracy were entitled to the privilege of these 
distinctions, the nobility became hereditary. And as the 
great officers of state were generally selected from this 
class, since they controlled the comitia, the nobility was not 
merely hereditary, but it was a governing nobility. The 
nobility had the possession of the Senate itself. The senate 
It monopolized the great offices of state. The real power, 
stability of the Roman aristocracy is seen in the fact, that, 
from the year 388 to 581, when the consulate was held by 
one patrician and one plebeian, one hundred and forty of the 
consuls, out of the three hundred and eighty-six, belonged 
to sixteen great houses. The Cornelii furnished thirty 
consuls in one hundred and ninety-three years, the Vale- 
rii eighteen, the Claudii twelve, the ^milii fifteen, the 
Fabii twelve, the Manlii ten, the Postumii eight, the 
Servilii seven, the Sulpicii eight, the Papirii four, to say 
nothing of other curule offices. Thus the nobility was not 
composed exclusively of patrician families, although these 
were the most numerous, but of old plebeian families also, 
in the same way that the English House of Lords is com- 
posed of families which trace their origin to Saxons as well 
as Normans, although the Normans, for several centuries, 
were the governing class. And as the House of Lords has 
accessions occasionally from the ranks of the people, in con- 
sequence of great wealth, or political interest, or eminent 
genius, or signal success in war, so the Roman nobility 
was increased, as old families died out, by the successful 
generals who gained the great offices of state. Marius 
arose from the people, but his exploits in the field of battle 
insured his entrance among the nobility in consequence of 
the offices he held, even as the Lord Chancellors of Eng- 
land, who have been eminent lawyers merely, are made 
herditary peers in consequence of their judicial position. 

1 Mommsen, B. III. c. xi. 



212 The Roman Constitution. [Chap. v. 

The Roman burgesses again were any thing but a rab- 
ble. They were composed of men of standing 
citizens. ^j-j(-| wealth. If they did not compose the mo- 
tive-power, they constituted a firm, foundation of the state. 
They had a clear conception of the common good, and a 
sagacity in the election of rulers, and a spirit of sacrifice 
for the general interests. They had a lofty patriotism that 
nothing could seduce. The rabble of Rome were of no 
account until the enormous wealth of the senatorial houses 
raised up clients and parasites. And when this rabble, 
who were merely the dependents of the rich, obtained the 
privilege of voting, then the decline of liberties was rapid 
and fearful, since they were merely the tools of powerful 
demagogues. 

Thus among the Romans, until the prostration of their 
liberties, the powers of government were not in the hands 
of kings, as among the Orientals, nor in those of the aris- 
Baiance of tocracy, cxclusively, nor in those of the people ; 
power. |^^|. -j^ ^\\ combined, one class acting as a check 

against another class. They were shared between the 
Senate, the magistrates, and the people in their assemblies. 
Theoretically, the populus was the real sovereign by whom 
power was delegated ; but, for several centuries, the pop- 
ulus meant the patricians, who alone could take part in the 
assemblies. The preponderating influence was exercised 
by the Senate. The judicial, the legislative, and the ex- 
ecutive authority were as clearly defined as in our times. 
The magistrates were all elected by the Senate or the peo- 
ple, and sometimes proposed by the one and confirmed by 
tlie other. No case, involving the life of a Roman citizen, 
could be decided except by the Comitia Centuriata, The 
election of a magistrate, or the passing of a law, though 
made on the ground of a senatus consultum, yet required 
the sanction of the curiae. In legislative measures, a se- 
natus consultum was brought before the people by the con- 
sul, or the senator who originated the measure, after it had 



Chap, v.] Balance of the Ruling Powers, 213 

previously been exhibited in public for seventeen days. 
The inferior magistrates, whose office it was to superintend 
affairs of local interest, were elected by the Comitia Tri- 
huta. All the magistrates, however great their power, 
could, at the expiration of their office, be punished for 
transcending their trust. No person was above the author- 
ity of the laws. No one class could subvert the liberties 
and prerogatives of another. The Senate had the most 
power, but it could not ride over the Constitution. The 
consuls were not the creatures of the Senate ; they were 
elected by the centuries, and presided over the Senate, as 
well as the assembly of the people. The abuse of power 
by a consul was prevented by his colleague, and by the 
certainty of being called to account on the expiration of his 
office. His power was also limited by the Senate, since 
he was dependent upon it. There was no absolute power 
exercised at Rome, except by the dictators, but they w^ere 
appointed only in a national crisis, and then only for six 
months. Unless their power were perpetuated, not even 
they could overturn the constitution. The senators again, 
the most powerful body in the state, were not entirely in- 
dependent. They could not elect members of their own 
body, nor keep them in office. The censors had the right 
of electing the senators from among the ex-magistrates and 
the equites, and of excluding such as they deemed un- 
worthy. And as the Senate was thus composed wholly 
of men who had held the highest offices or had P^reat 
wealth, it was a body of great experience and wisdom. 
Yet even this august assembly was obliged to submit to 
the introduction of any subject of discussion by the tri- 
bune. What a counterpoise to the authority of this pow- 
erful body were the tribunes ! From their right of appear- 
ing in the Senate, and of taking part in its discussions, and 
from their being the representatives of the whole people, 
in whom power was supposed primarily to be lodged, they 
gradually obtained the right of intercession against any 



214 The Roman Constitution, [Chap. v. 

action which a magistrate might undertake during the time 
of his office, and without giving a reason. They could 
not only prevent a consul from convening the Senate, but 
could veto an ordinance of the Senate itself. They could 
even seize a consul and a censor and imprison him. Thus 
was power marvelously distributed, even while it remained 
in the hands of the higher classes. The people were not 
powerless when their assemblies could make laws and ap- 
point magistrates, and when their tribunes could veto the 
most important measures. The consuls could not remain 
in office long enough to be dangerous, and the senators 
could be ejected from their high position when flagrantly 
unworthy. " The nohiles had no legal privileges like 
a feudal aristocracy, but they were bound together by a 
common distinction derived from a legal title, and by a 
common interest ; and their common interest was to en- 
deavor to confii],e the election to all the high magistracies 
to the members of their own body." The term nobilitas 
implied that some one of a man's ancestors had filled a 
curule magistracy, and it also implied the possession of 
wealth. Theoretically it would seem that the nohiles were 
very numerous, since so many people can ordinarily boast 
of an illustrious ancestor ; but practically the class was not 
so large as we might expect. A noble might be poor, but 
still, like Sulla, he remained noble. The distinction of 
patrician was, long before the reforms of the Gracchi, of 
secondary importance ; that of nohilitas remained to the 
close of the republic. The nobility kept themselves ex- 
clusive and powerful from the possession of the great offices 
of state from generation to generation ; they prevented 
their own extinction by admitting into their ranks those 
who distino^uished themselves to an eminent decree. 

But this state of things applied only to the republic in 
The reign of ^^^ palmy days. When democratical influences 
demagogues, f^yored the ascendcucy of demagogues, — thus 
far in the history of our world, the inevitable consequence 



Chap. V.] The Reign of Demagogues. 215 

of a greater extension of popular liberties than what the 
Deople are prepared for, — then wholesome restraints were 
removed, and the people were the most enslaved, when 
they thought themselves most free. There is no more 
melancholy slavery than the slavery of the passions. 
Ignorant self-indulgent people are led by their passions ; 
they are rarely influenced by reason or by enlightened 
self-interest. Those who most skillfully and unscrupu- 
lously appeal to popular passions, when the people have 
power, have necessarily the ascendency in the community. 
The people, deceived, flattered, headstrong, follow them 
willingly. In times of war, and especially among a mar- 
tial people, military chieftains, by inflaming the warlike 
passions, by holding out exaggerated notions of glory, by 
appealing to vanity and patriotism mingled, have ever had 
a most extraordinary influence in republics. They have 
also great influence in monarchies, when the monarch is 
crazed by the passion of military success. Monarchs, 
with the passions of the people, are led by men who flat- 
ter them even as the people are led. Hence the reign of 
favorites with kings. The ascendency of favorites, with 
sovereigns like Louis XIII., or even like Louis XIV., 
is maintained by the same policy as that which animated 
Marius and C^sar, or animates the popular favorites of 
our times. And this ascendency may be for the better or 
the worse, according: to the character of the demacro^ue 
rulers, or royal favorites. "When a Richelieu or a Cavour 
holds the reins, a country may be indirectly benefited by 
the wisdom of their public acts. When a Buckingham or 
a Catiline prevails, a nation suffers a calamity. In either 
case, the power which is conceded to be legitimate be- 
comes a mockery. With Caesar, the popular power is a 
mere name, even, as with Richelieu, the kingly is a shadow. 
In the better days of the Roman republic, the executive 
power was kept in a healthy state by the great authority 
of the Senate, and the senatorial influence was prevented 



216 The Roman Constitution. [Chap. v. 

from undue encroachment by the watchfulness of the trib- 
unes. And when the aristocratical ascendency was most 
marked, the aristocratical body had too much virtue and 
ability to be enslaved by ambitious and able men of their 
own number. Had the Roman Senate, in the heicrht of 
its power, been composed of ignorant, inexperienced, self- 
ish, unpatriotic members, then it would have been easy for 
a great intellect among them, whether accompanied by 
virtue or not, by appealing perpetually to their pride, to 
their rank, to their privileges, to their peculiar passions, to 
have led them, as Pitt led the House of Commons. The 
real rulers of our world are few, in any community, or 
under any form of government. They are always dan- 
gerous, when there is a low degree of virtue or intelli- 
gence among those whom they represent. Certain it is, 
that their power is nearly absolute when they are sustained 
by passion or prejudice. The representative of a fanatical 
constituency has no continued power, unless he perpetually 
flatters those whom, in his heart, he knows to be lost to 
the control of reason. And his influence is greater or less, 
according to the strength of the popular passions which he 
inflames, or in which, as is often the case, he shares. 
The honest representative of fanatics is himself a fanatic. 
Thus Cromwell had so great an ascendency with his party, 
because he felt more strongly than they in matters where 
they sympathized. But the liberties of Rome were not 
overturned by fanatical rulers, but by those who availed 
themselves of the passions which they themselves did not 
feel, in order to compass their selfish ends. And tliat is 
the greater danger in republics — that bad men rise by the 
suff'rage of foolish people whom they deceive, by aflTecting 
to fall in with their wishes, like Napoleon and Caesar, 
rather than that honest men climb to power by the very 
excess of their enthusiasm, like Cromwell, or Peter the 
Hermit. Hence a Mirabeau is more dangerous than a 
Robespierre. The former would have betrayed the peo- 



Chap. V.] Excellence of the Constitution, 217 

pie he led ; the latter would have urged them on to con- 
sistent courses, even if the way was lined with death. 
Had Mirabeau lived, and retained his power, he would 
have compromised the Revolution, of which Napoleon was 
the product, and the work would have had to be done over. 
But Robespierre pushed his principles to their utmost logi- 
cal sequence, and the nation was satisfied with their folly, 
in a practical point of view. Napoleon arose to rebuke 
anarchy as well as feudal kings, and though maddened and 
intoxicated by war, so that his name is a Moloch, he never 
dreamed of restoring the unequal privileges which the Rev- 
olution swept away. 

The Roman constitution, as gradually developed by the 
necessities and crises which arose, is a wonderful Greatness of 

„ , . , rT^^ 1 the constitu- 

monument ot human wisdom, ine people were tion. 
not ground down. They had rights which they never re- 
linquished ; and they constantly gained new priAaleges, as 
they were prepared to appreciate them, or as they were in 
danger of subjection by the governing classes. They 
never had the ascendency, but they enjoyed renewed and 
increasing power, until they were strong enough to tempt 
aristocratic demao;oo;ues and successful generals. When 
C^sar condescended to flatter the people, they had become 
a power, but a power incapable of holding its own, or 
usino' it for the welfare of the state. Then it was sub- 
verted, as Napoleon rode into absolute dominion over the 
brido;e which the Revolution had built. And the Roman 
constitution was remarkable, not only because it prevented 
a degrading subjection of the masses, even while it refused 
them the rights of government, but because it maintained 
a balance among the governing classes themselves, and 
restricted the usurpations of powerful families, as well as 
military heroes. For nearly five hundred years, not a man 
arose whom the Romans feared, or w^hom they could not 
control — whom they could not at any time have hurled 
from the Tarpeian rock had he contemplated the sub- 



218 The Roman Constitution. [Chap. v. 

version, I will not say of the liberties of the people, but 
of the constitution which made the aristocracy supreme. 
There were ambitious and unscrupulous men, doubtless, 
among those fortunate generals whom the Senate snubbed, 
and whom the people adored. But, great as they were in 
w^ar, and pow^erful from family interest and vast wealth, no 
one of them ever dared to make himself supreme until 
Csesar passed the Rubicon — not Scipio, crowned with the 
laurels which he had taken from the head of Hannibal ; 
not Marius, fresh from his great victories over the barbaric 
hosts of northern Europe ; not even Sulla, after his mag- 
nificent conquests in the east, and his triumph over all the 
parties and factions which democracy raised against him. 
Pompey may have contemplated what it was the fortune 
of Caesar to secure. But that pompous magnate could 
have succeeded only by using the watchwords and prac- 
ticing the acts to which none but a demagogue could have 
stooped. Before his time, at least for fifty years, there 
were too many men in^the Senate who had the spirit of 
Cato, of Cicero, and of Brutus. 

But, tempora mutantur. When the Senate was made 
TheRevoiu- ^^P of nicu wliom great generals selected, whether 
*^°°' aristocratic sycophants or rich plebeians ; when 

the tribunes played into the hands of the very men whom 
they were created to oppose ; w-hen the high priest of a 
people, originally religious, was chosen w^ithout regard to 
either moral or religious considerations, but purely politi- 
cal ; when the high oflfices of the state were filled by sen- 
ators who had never seen military hfe except for some 
brief campaign ; when factions and parties set old cus- 
toms aside ; when the most aristocratic nobles sought en- 
trance into plebeian ranks in order, like Mirabeau, to steal 
the few offices which the people controlled, and when 
the people, mad and fierce from demoralizing spectacles, 
raised mobs and subverted law, then the constitution, 
under which the Romans had advanced to the conquest of 



Chap. V.] Necessity for the Rule of Emperors, 219 

the world, became subverted. Under the emperors, there 
was no constitution. They controlled the Sen- Effects of 
ate, the army, the tribunals of the law, the rule. 
distant provinces, the city itself, and regulated taxes and 
imposed burdens, and appointed to high offices whomever 
they wished. The Senate lost its independence, the 
courts their justice, the army its spirit, and the people 
their hopes. Yet the old form remained. The Senate 
met as in the days of the Gracchi. There were consuls and 
praetors still. But it was merely equites or rich men who 
filled the senatorial benches — tools of the emperor, as 
were all the officers of the state. The government of 
nobles was succeeded by the government of emperors who, 
in their turn, were too often the tools of favorites, or of 
praetorian guards, until the assassin's dagger cut short their 
days. 

This is not the place to speculate on the good or evil 
which resulted from this change in the Roman govern- 
ment. Most historians and philosophers agree that the 
change was inevitable, and proved, on the whole, The rule of 

. •11 '11 emperors a 

benignant. It was simply the question whether necessity. 
the Romans should have civil wars and anarchies and fac- 
tions, which decimated the people, and kept society in a 
state of fear and insecurity, and prevented the triumph of 
law, or whether they should submit to an absolute ruler, 
who had unbounded means of doing good, and whom in- 
terest and duty alike prompted to secure the public wel- 
fare. The people wanted, above all things, safety, and 
the means of prosecuting their various interests. Under 
the emperors they obtained the greatest boons possible, 
when the condition of society was hollow and rotten to 
the core. The people were governed, sometimes wisely, 
sometimes recklesslv, but there were order and law for 
three hundred years. It little mattered to the vast popu- 
lation of the empire who was supreme master, provided 
they were not oppressed. The proud Lnperator^ the title 



220 The Roman Constitution, [Chap. v. 

and pr^enomen of all the Roman monarchs, and which had 
been mvented for Octavian, remained the fountain of law, 
the arbiter of all interests, the undisputed ruler of the 
world. Tlie old offices nominally remained, but, by virtue 
of the censorship, the emperor had the power of exclud- 
ing persons from the Senate, and of calHng others into it. 
Thus the august body which was, under the republic, the 
counterpoise to executive authority,, was rendered depen- 
dent on the imperial will. There was no Senate, but in 
name, when it could be controlled by the government. It 
became a mere form, or an instrument in the hands of the 
administration, to facilitate business. By obtaining the 
proconsular power over the whole of the Roman Empire, 
Octavian made the provincial governors his vicegerents. 
The tribimicia potestas wdiich he also enjoyed, enabled him 
to annul any decree of the Senate, and of interfering in 
all the acts of the magistrates. An appeal was open to him, 
as tribune, from all the courts of justice ; he had a right 
to convoke the Senate, and to put any subject under con- 
sideration to the vote of senators. Auo;ustus even seized 
the pontificate, w^hich office, that of Pontifex Maximus, put 
into his hands all the ecclesiastical courts. As tribune and 
censor, he also controlled the treasury, so that all the 
powers of the state were concentrated in him alone — that 
of consul, tribune, censor, praetor, and high priest. What 
a power to be exercised by one man in so great an em- 
pire ! The Roman constitution was subverted wdien one 
man usurped the offices wdiich w^ere formerly shared by 
many. No sovereign was ever so absolute as the Ro- 
man Imperator, since he combined all the judicial, the 
executive, and the legislative branches of the government ; 
that is, he controlled them all. 

Yet the old machinery was kept up, the old forms, the 
The old ^^^^ offices in name, otherwise even Augustus 
g(7vTrnment flight uot havc bccu sccurc on his throne. The 
preserved. Qomitia stiU elccted maojistrates, but onlv such as 



Chap. V.] Hemorseless and Iron Rule of Emperors. 221 

were proposed by the government. The Senate assembled 
as usual, but it was composed of rich men, merely to reg- 
ister the decrees of the Imperator. The consuls were 
elected as before, but they were mere shadows in author- 
ity. The only respectable part of the magistracy was that 
which interpreted the laws. The only final authority was 
the edict of the emperor, who not only controlled all the 
great offices of state, but was possessed of enormous and 
almost unlimited private property. They owned whole 
principalities. Augustus changed the whole registration 
of property in Gaul on his own responsibility, without con- 
sulting any one.^ His power was so unlimited that soldiers 
took the oath of allegiance to him, as they once did to the 
imperium populi Romani, His armies, his fleets, and his 
officers were everywhere, and no one dreamed of resisting 
a power which absorbed every thing into itself. 

It is altogether another question whether the prosper- 
ity of the state was greater or less after the subversion of 
the constitution. For three hundred years the state was 
probably kept together by the ancient mechanism con- 
trolled by one central will. The change from civil war 
and party faction to imperial centralized power, considering 
the demoralized condition of society, was doubtless bene- 
ficial. The emperor could rule ; he could not, rphe imperial 
however, conserve the empire. Doubtless, in abil^L'^save 
most cases, he ruled well, since he ruled by the *^®s*^*®- 
aid of great experience and ability. It is peculiarly the 
interest of despots to have able men as ministers. They 
never select those whom they deem to be weak and cor- 
rupt ; they are simply deceived in their estimate of ability 
and fidelity. For several generations, the provinces had 
experienced governors, the armies had able generals, the 
courts of law learned judges. The provinces were not so 
inexorably robbed as in the time of Cicero. The people 
had their pleasures and spectacles and baths. Property 

1 Niebuhr, Lecture 105. 



222 The Roman Constitution. [Chap. v. 

was secure, unless enormous fortunes tempted the cupidity 
of the emperors. Justice was well administered. Cities 
were rebuilt and adorned. Rome owed its greatest monu- 
ments of art to the emperors. There was a cold and re- 
morseless despotism ; but the unnoticed millions toiled in 
peace. Literature did not thrive, since that can only live 
with freedom, but art received great encouragement, and 
genius, in the useful professions, did not go unrewarded. 
The empire did not fall till luxury and prosperity enervated 
the people and rendered them unable to cope with the bar- 
barian hosts. Rome was never so rich as when she fell 
into the hands of Goths and Vandals. But the empire, 
under the old constitution, might have protected itself 
asjainst external enemies. The mortal wound to Roman 
power and glory was inflicted by traitors. 

Authorities. — Niebuhr, Lectures on the History of Rome ; 
Mommsen, History of Rome ; Arnold, History of Rome ; Merivale, 
History of the Romans ; Gibbon, Decline and Fall ; Smith's Diction- 
ary of Greek and Roman Antiquities gives the details, and points out 
the old classical authorities, as does Napoleon's Life of Cassar. Diony- 
sius, Polybius, Livy, Plutarch, Cicero, Sallust, all shed light on impor- 
tant points. See also Gottling, Gesch der Rom. Staat. A large cata- 
logue of writers could be mentioned, but allusion is only made to those 
jaost accessible to American readers. 



CHAPTER VI. 

EOMAN JURISPRUDENCE. 

If the Romans showed great practical sagacity in dis- 
tributing poHtical power among different classes and per- 
sons, their laws evince still greater wisdom. Jurispru- 
dence is generally considered to be their indigenous sci- 
ence. It is for this they were most distinguished, and by 
this they have given the greatest impulse to civilization. 
Their laws were most admirably adapted for the govern- 
ment of mankind, but they had a still higher merit ; they 
were framed, to a considerable degree, upon the principles 
of equity or natural justice, and hence are adapted for all 
ages and nations, and have indeed been reproduced by 
modern lawgivers, and so extensively, as to have formed 
the basis of many modern codes. Hence it is by their 
laws that the Romans have had the greatest influence 
on modern times, and these constitute a wonderful mon- 
ument of human genius. If the Romans had bequeathed 
nothing but laws to posterity, they would not have lived 
in vain. These have more powerfully affected the inter 
ests of civilization than the arts of Greece. They are as 
permanent in their effects as any thing can be in this world 
— more so than palaces and marbles. The latter crumble 
away, but the legacy of Gains, of Ulpian, of Paulus, of 
Tribonian, will be prized to the remotest ages, not only as 
a wonderful work of genius, but for its practical utility. 
The enduring influence of Moses is chiefly seen in his le- 
gislation, for this has entered into the Christian codes, and 
is also founded on the principles of justice. It is for this 



224 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap, vi 

clilefly that he ranks with the greatest intellects of earth, 
whether he was divinely instructed or not. 

Roman laws were first made in reference to the politi- 
object for ^^^ exigencies and clianges of the state, and after- 
laws were wards to tlic relations of tlie state with individ- 
^^^^' uals, or of individuals with individuals. The 

former pertain more properly to constitutional history ; the 
latter belong to what is called the science of jurisprudence, 
and only fall in with the scope of this chapter. The laws 
enacted by the Roman people in their centuries, or by the 
Senate, pertaining to political rights and privileges — those 
by which power passed from the hands of patricians to 
plebeians, or from the populus to great executive officers — 
are highly important and interesting in an historical oi 
political sense. But the genius of the Romans was most 
strikingly seen in the government of mankind ; and it i& 
tlierefore the relations between the sovernino; and the p'Ov- 

o o o 

erned, the laws created for the general good, pertain- 
ing to property and crime and individual riglits, wliich, ir 
this chapter, it is my chief object to show. 

The Greeks, with all their genius, their great creation 
Greeks in- in literature, philosophy, and art, did very little 
Romans in for civilizatiou, wlucli WO cau trace, in the science 
dence. of jurisprudence. They were too speculative for 

such a practical science. Nevertheless their speculative 
wisdom was made use of by Roman jurists. It was only 
so far as philosophy modified laws, that the influence of 
Greece was of much account. 

Nor did Roman jurisprudence culminate in its serene 
jurispru- majcsty till the time of the emperors. It was 
nSeTwith "ot perfectly developed, until Justinian consoli- 
emperors. j^^^^j j^ '^^ ^{^^ Q^j^^ ^1^^ Paudccts, and tlic Insti- 
tutes. The classical jurists may have laid the foundation ; 
the superstructure was raised under the auspices of those 
whom we regard as despots. 

Ingenious writers, like Vico and Niebuhr, have extended 



Chap. VI.] Early Laws. 225 

their researches to the government of the kings, and ad- 
vanced many plausible speculations ; but the ear- -^^^^^^ legisia- 
liest legislation worthy of notice, was the celebrat- ^^^°" 
ed code called the Twelve Tables, framed from the reports 
of the commissioners whom the Romans sent to Athens 
and other Greek states, to collect what was most useful 
in their legal systems. But scarcely any part of the 
civil law contained in the Twelve Tables has come down 
to us. All we know with certainty, is that it was the in- 
tention of the decemviral legislation to bring the estates 
into closer connection, and to equalize the laws for both. 
Nor do the provisions of the decemviral code, with which 
we are acquainted, show that enlightened regard to natu- 
ral justice which characterized jurisprudence in its subse- 
quent development. It allowed insolvent debtors to be 
treated with great cruelty ; they could be imprisoned for 
sixty days, loaded with chains, and then might be sold into 
foreign slavery. It sanctioned a barbarous retaliation — 
an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But it gave a 
redress for lampoons or libels, allowed an appeal from the 
magistrate to the people, and forbid capital punishment 
except by a decision of the centuries.^ Niebuhr main- 
tains,^ in his lectures on the History of Rome, that the 
Twelve Tables conceded the right to every pater familias 
of making a will, by which regulation the child of a ple- 
beian, by a patrician mother, could succeed to his father's 
property, which was of great importance, and a great step 
in natural justice. It is supposed that the most important 
part of the decemviral legislation was the jus publicum,^ 
or that which refers to the Roman constitution. The 
Twelve Tables obtained among the Romans a The Twelve 
peculiar reverence ; they were committed to ^^^^^^• 
memory by the young; they were transcribed with the 
greatest care, and were considered as the fountain of right. 
They were approved by the comitia centuriata, which was 

I Lord Mackenzie, part 6. 2 Lecture 25. ^ Cicero, De Legibus. 

15 



226 Roman Jiirisjjrudejice. [Chap. vi. 

the supreme autlioritj, and in the time of Appius Clau- 
dius was composed of patricians alone. If Niebuhr is 
right in his statement that the power of making wills was 
given to plebeians, it shows a greater liberality on tlie part 
of patricians than what they generally have had credit 
for, and is hardly to be reconciled with the statement of 
Lord Mackenzie, that all marriages between patricians and 
plebeians were prohibited by the new code. 

The laws of the Twelve Tables were the basis of all the 
The Twelve l^ws, civil and religious. But the edicts of the 
basis^of^Ro- pi'93tors, who wcre the great equity judges, as 
man law. ^,YQ\{ as tlic couimou-law magistrates,^ proclaimed 
certain changes which custom and the practice of the 
courts had introduced, and these, added to the leges 2^opuli 
or laws proposed by the consul and passed by the centu- 
ries, the plebiscita or laws proposed by the tribunes and 
passed by the tribes, and the senatus consulta, gradually 
swelled the laws to a great number. Three thousand 
plates of brass, containing these various laws, were depos- 
ited in the capitol.^ Subtleties and fictions were introduced 
by the lawyers to defeat the written statutes, and jurispru- 
dence became complicated, even in the time of Cicero. 
The opinions of eminent lawyers were even adopted by the 
legal profession, and were recognized by the courts. The 
evils of a complicated jurisprudence were so evident in 
the seventh century of the city, that Q. Mucins Scsevola, 
a great lawyer, when consul, published a scientific elabora- 
tion of the civil law. Cicero studied law under him, and 
his contemporaries, Alfenus Varus and ^lius Gallus, wrote 
learned treatises, from which extracts appear in the Digest. 
Caisar contemplated a complete revision of the laws, but 
did not live long enough to carry out his intentions. His 
legislation, so far as he directed his mind to it, was very 
just. Among other laws was one which ordained that 
creditors should accept lands as payment for their outstand- 

1 Maine's Ancient Law, p. G7. 2 Suetonius, In Vespa. 



Chap, yi.] Progress of Roman Law. 227 

ing debts, according to the value determined by commis- 
sioners. In liis time, the relative value of money had 
changed, and was greatly diminished. The most impor- 
tant law of Augustus, was the lex oelia sentia, de- progress of 
serving of all praise, which related to the manu- ^<^™^^ ^^^• 
mission of slaves. But he did not interfere with the social 
relations of the people after he had deprived them of 
political liberty. He once attempted, by his Lex Julia et 
Papia Poppcea^ to counteract the custom which then pre- 
vailed, of abstaining from legal marriage and substituting 
concubinage instead, by which the free population declined ; 
but this attempt to improve the morals of the people met 
with such opposition from the tribes or centuries, that 
the next emperor abolished popular assemblies altogether, 
which Augustus feared to do. The Senate, in the time of 
the emperors, composed chiefly of lawyers and magistrates, 
and entirely dependent upon them, became the great foun- 
tain of law. By the original constitution, the people were 
the source of power, and the Senate merely gave or refused 
its approbation to the laws proposed, but under the emper- 
ors the comitia disappeared, and the Senate passed decrees, 
which have the force of laws, subject to the veto of the 
emperor. It was not until the time of Septimus Severus 
and Caracalla, that the legislative action of the Senate 
ceased, and the edicts and rescripts of emperors took the 
place of all legislation. 

Tlie golden age of Roman jurisprudence was from the 
birth of Cicero to the reign of Alexander Severus. Be- 
fore this period it was an occult science, confined to prae- 
tors, pontiffs, and patrician lawyers. There were no books 
nor schools to teach its principles. But in the latter days 
of the republic law became the fashionable study of Ro- 
man youth, and eminent masters arose. The first great 
law^^er who left behind him important works, was the 
teacher of Cicero, Q. Mucins Scsevola, who wrote q Lucius 
a treatise in eighteen books on the civil law. ^caevoia. 



228 Roman Jurisprudence, [Chap. vi. 

" He was," ^ says Cicero, " the most eloquent of jurists, and 
the most learned of orators." This work, George Long 
thinks, had a great influence on contemporaries and on 
subsequent jurists, who followed it as a model. It is the 
oldest work from which there are any excerpts in the 
Digest. 

Servius Sulplcius, the friend of Cicero, and fellow-stu- 
Servius ^^^t of oratory, surpassed his teachers Balbus 
Suipicius. ^j^^ Gallus, and was the equal in reputation of the 
great Mucins Scaevola, the Pontifex Maximus, who said It 
was disgraceful for a patrician and a noble to be ignorant of 
the law with which he had to do. Cicero ascribes his great 
superiority as a lawyer to the study of philosophy, which 
disciplined and developed his mind, and enabled him to de- 
duce his conclusions from his premises with logical precis- 
ion. He left behind him one hundred and eighty treatises, 
and had numerous pupils, among whom A. Ofilius and 
Alfenus Varus, Cato, Caesar, Antony, and Cicero, were 
great lawyers. Labeo, in the time of Augustus, 
wrote four hundred books on jurisprudence, 
spending six months in the year in giving instruction to his 
pupils, and in answering legal questions, and the other six 
months in the country in writing books. Like all the great 
Roman jurists, he was versed In literature and philosophy, 
and so devoted to his profession that he refused political 
office. His rival, Capito, was equally learned in all depart- 
ments of the law, and left behind him as many treatises as 
Labeo. These two jurists were the founders of celebrated 
schools, like the ancient philosophers, and each had distin- 
guished followers. Masurlus Sablnus Gains and Pom- 
ponlus, were of tlie school of Capito. M. Cocceius Nerva, 
Sempronius Proculus, and Juventius Celsus, were of the 
school of Labeo. Galus, who flourished in the 
time of the Antonines, was a great legal author- 
ity ; and the recent discovery of his Institutes has revealed 

1 Cicero, De Or. i. 39. 



Chap. VI.] Roman Jurists, 229 

the least mutilated fragment of Roman jurisprudence which 
exists, and one of the most valuable, and sheds great light 
on ancient Roman law. It was found in the library of Ve- 
rona. No Roman iurist had a higher reputation 
than Papinian, who was prcefectus prcetorio under 
Septimius Severus, an office which made him only second- 
ary to the emperor — a sort of grand vizier — whose power 
extended over all departments of the state. He was be- 
headed by Caracalla. The great commentator Cujacius, 
declares that he was the first of all lawyers who have been, 
or who are to be ; that no one ever surpassed him in legal 
knowledge, and no one will ever equal him. Paulus was 
his contemporarv, and held the same office as 

" Paulus. 

Papinian. He was the most fertile of Roman 
law-writers, and there is more taken from him in the Digest 
than from any other jurist, except Ulpian. There are 
two thousand and eighty-three excerpts from this writer, 
one sixth of the whole Digest. No legal writer, ancient 
or modern, has handled so many subjects. In perspic- 
uity, he is said to be inferior to Ulpian, one of the most 
famous of jurists, who was his contemporary. He has 
exercised a great influence on modern jurisprudence from 
the copious extracts of his writings in Justinian's Digest. 
He was the chief adviser of Alexander Severus, and like 
Paulus was prcefectus prcetorio. The number of excerpts in 
the Digest from him, is said to be two thousand four hun- 
dred and sixty-two, and they form a third part of it. Some 
fragments of his writings remain. The last of the great 
civilians associated with Gains, Papinian, Paulus, and Ul- 
pian, as oracles of jurisprudence, was Modestinus, who was 
a pupil of Ulpian. He wrote both in Greek and Latin. 
There are three hundred and forty-five excerpts in the 
Digest from his writings, the titles of which show the ex- 
tent and variety of his labors.^ 

These great lawyers shed great glory on the Roman 

1 These facts are drawn from the different articles of George Long, in Smith's 
Dictionary. 



2-jO Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. VI. 

civilization. In the earliest times men sought distinction 
on the fields of battle, but in the latter days of the republic 
honor was conferred for forensic ability. The first pleaders 
of Rome were not jurisconsults, but aristocratic patrons 
Theprofes- ""^^^ lookcd after their clients. But when law 
sionofiaw. j^ecame complicated, a class of men arose to in- 
terpret it, and these men were held in great honor, and 
reached, by their services, the highest offices — like Cicero 
and Hortensius. No remuneration was given originally 
for forensic pleading, beyond the services which the client 
gave to a patron, but gradually the practice of the law be- 
came lucrative. Hortensius, as well as Cicero, gained an 
immense fortune. He had several villas, a gallery of 
paintings, a large stock of wines, parks, fish-ponds, and 
aviaries. Cicero had villas in all parts of Italy ; a house on 
the Palatine with columns of Numidian marble, and a for- 
tune of twenty millions of sesterces, equal to $800,000. 
Most of the great statesmen of Rome, in the time of 
% Cicero, were either lawyers or generals. Crassus, Pom- 
pey, P. Sextus, M. Marcellus, P. Clodius, Calidius, Mes- 
sala Niger, Asinius Polho, C. Cicero, M. Antonius, Csesar, 
Calvus, Cselius, Brutus, Catulus, Messala Cervirus, were 
all celebrated for their forensic efforts. Candidates for the 
bar studied four years under a distinguished jurist, and 
were required to pass a rigorous examination. The judges 
were chosen from members of the bar, as well as, in later 
times, the senators. The great lawyers were not only 
learned in the law, but possessed great accomplishments. 
Varro was a lawyer, and was the most learned man that 
Rome produced. But, under the emperors, the lawyers 
were chiefly distinguished for their legal attainments, like 
Paulus and Ulpian. 

During this golden age of Roman jurisprudence, many 
commentaries were written on the Twelve Tables, the 
Perpetual Edict, the Laws of the People, and the Decrees 
of the Senate, as well as a vast mass of treatises on every 



Chap. VI.] Justinian Code, 231 

department of the law, most of which have perished. The 
Institutes of Gains, which have reached us nearly in their 
original form, are the most valuable which remain, and 
have thrown great light on some important branches pre- 
viously involved in obscuritj'. Their use in explaining 
the Institutes of Justinian, is spoken of very highly by 
Mackenzie, since the latter are mainly founded on the long 
lost work of Gains. A treatise of Ulpian, preserved in the 
Vatican, entitled " Tltuli ex corpore TJlpiani^^ also contains 
valuable information, as well as the " Receptee Sententice " 
of Julius Paulus, his great contemporary, both of which 
works, as well as others of inferior importance, were lately 
published at Kome by Dr. Gneist, called ''''Corpus Juris 
Romani Antejustinianii.'''' ^ The great lawyers who flour- 
ished from Trajan to Alexander Severus, like -^^^^^ 
Gains, Ulpian, Paulus, Papinian, and Modestinus, J""^*^^^- 
had no successors who can be compared with them, and their 
works became standard authorities in the courts of law. 

After the death of Alexander Severus no great accession 
was made to Poman law, until Theodosius II. caused the 
constitutions, from Constantine to his own time, to be col- 
lected and arranged in sixteen books. This was called the 
Theodosian Code, which in the West was held in high es- 
teem, although superseded shortly after in the East by the 
Justinian Code. 

To Justinian belongs the immortal glory of reforming 
the jurisprudence of the Romans. '' In the Justinian 
space of ten centuries," says Gibbon, " the infin- ^^^°^^- 
ite variety of laws and legal opinions had filled many thou- 
sand volumes, which no fortune could purchase, and no 
capacity could digest. Books could not easily be found 
and the judges, poor in the midst of riches, were reduced 
to the exercise of their illiterate discretion." '^ Justin- 
ian determined to unite in one body all the rules of law, 
whatever may have been their origin, and in the year 

1 Mackenzie, p. 16. ^ Gibbon, ch. 44. 



232 Roman Jurisprudence, [Chap. vi. 

528, appointed ten jurisconsults, among whom was the 
celebrated Tribonian, to select and arrange the imperial 
constitutions, leaving out what was obsolete or useless or 
contradictory, and to make such alterations as the circum- 
stances required. This was called the Oode^ divided into 
twelve books, and comprising the constitutions from Ha- 
drian to Justinian. This was published in fourteen months 
after it was undertaken. 

Justinian authorized Tribonian, then quaestor, " vir mag- 
nificus magisteria dignitate inter agentes decor- 

Tribomian. . i nr> 

atus, tor great titles were now given to the oiii- 
cers of the crown, to prepare, with the assistance of seven- 
teen associates, a collection of extracts from the writings 
of the most eminent jurists, so as to form a body of law 
for the government of the empire, with power to select and 
omit and alter ; and this immense work was done in three 
years, and published under the title of Digest or Pandects. 
" All the judicial learning of former times^" says Lord 
Mackenzie, •' was laid under contribution by Tribonian and 
his colleagues. Selections from the works of thirty-nine 
of the ablest lawyers, scattered over two thousand separate 
treatises, were collected in one volume ; and care was 
taken to inform posterity that three millions of lines were 
abridged and reduced, in these extracts, to the modest 
number of one hundred and fifty thousand. Among the 
selected jurists, only three names belonged to the age of 
the republic ; the civilians who flourished under the first 
emperors are seldom appealed to ; so that most of the 
writers, whose works have contributed to the Pandects, 
lived within a period of one hundred years. More than a 
The code of third of the whole Pandects is from Ulpian, and 
Pandects. next to him, the principal writers are Paulus, 
Papinian, Salvius Julianus, Pomponius, Q. Cervidius Scae- 
vola, and Gains. Though the variety of subjects is im- 
mense, the Digest has no claims to scientific arrangement. 
It is a vast cyclopedia of heterogeneous law badly ar- 



Chap. VI.] Legacy of Justinian, 233 

ranged ; every thing is there, but every thing is not in its 
proper place." ^ 

But neither the Digest nor the Code was adapted to ele- 
mentary instruction. It was necessary to pre- xheinsti- 
pare a treatise on the principles of Roman law. *"*^^" 
This was entrusted to Tribonian, and two professors, The- 
ophilus and Dorotheus. It is probable that Tribonian 
merely superintended the work, which was founded chiefly 
on the Institutes of Gains, and was divided into four books, 
and has been universally admired for its method and ele- 
gant precision. It was intended merely as an introduction 
to the Pandects and the Code. 

The Novels of Justinian were subsequently published, 
being the new ordinances of the emperor, and The Novels 
the changes he thought proper to make, and are ^f Justiman. 
therefore a high authority. 

The Code, Pandects, Institutes, and Novels of Justinian, 
comprise the Roman law, as received in Europe, in the 
form given by the school of Bologna, and is called the 
" Corpus Juris Civilise " It was in that form," says Sa- 
vigny, " that the Roman law became the common law of 
Europe ; and when, four centuries later, other sources came 
to be added to it, the Corpus Juris of the school of Bologna 
had been so universally received, and so long established as 
a basis of practice, that the new discoveries remained in 
the domain of science, and served only for the theory of 
the law. For the same reason, the An ti- Justinian law is 
excluded from practice." ^ After Justinian, the old texts 
were left to moulder as useless though venerable, and they 
have nearly all disappeared. The Code, the Pandects, and 
the Institutes, were declared to be the only legitimate au- 
thority and alone were ivdmitted to the tribunals or taught 
ill the schools. The rescripts of the early emperors recog- 
nized too many popular rights to suit the despotic character 
of Justinian, and the older jurists, like the Scsevolas, Sul- 

1 Mackenzie, p. 25. 2 Savigny, Droit Romani, vol. i. p. 68. 



234 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap, vi 

picins, and Labeo, were distasteful from their sympathy 
with free institutions. Different opinions have been ex- 
pressed by the jurisconsults as to the merits of the Justinian 
collection. Bv some it is regarded as a vast mass of leoal 
lumber; by others, as a beautiful monument -of human 
labor. After the lapse of so many centuries, it is certain 
that a large portion of it is of no practical utility, since it 
is not applicable to modern wants. But again, no one 
doubts that it has exercised a PTeat and sood influence on 
moral and political science, and introduced many enlight- 
ened views concerning the administration of justice, as well 
as the nature of civil government, and thus has modified the 
codes of the Teutonic nations, which sprang up on the ruins 
of the old Roman world. It was used in the Greek empire 
until the fall of Constantinople. It never entirely lost au- 
thority in Italy, although it remained buried till the discov- 
ery of the Florentine copy of the Pandects at the siege of 
Amalfi in 1135. Peter Valence, in the eleventh century, 
made use of it in a law-book which he published. With the 
rise of the Italian cities, the study of Roman law revived, 
and Bologna became the seat from which it spread over 
Europe. In the sixteenth century, the science of theoreti- 
cal law passed from Italy to France, under the auspices of 
Francis I., when Cujas or Cujacius became the great orna- 
ment of the school of Bourges, and the greatest commenta- 
tor on Roman law until Dumoulin appeared. Grotius, in 
Holland, excited the same interest in civil law that Dumou- 
lin did in France, followed by eminent professors in Leyden 
and the German universities. It was reserved for Pothier, 
in the middle of the eighteenth century, to reduce the 
Roman law to systematic order — one of the most gigantic 
tasks which ever taxed the industry of man. The recent 
discoveries, especially that made by Niebuhr, of the long 
lost work of Gains have given a great impulse to the study 
of Roman law in Germany, and to this impulse no one has 
contributed so greatly as Savigny of Berlin. 



Chap, vl] Law of Persons. 235 

The great importance of the subject demands a more 
minute notice of the principles of the Roman law, than 
what the limits of this work should properly allow. I shall 
therefore endeavor to abridge what has been written by 
the more eminent authorities, taking as a basis the late 
work of Lord Mackenzie and the learned and interesting 
essay of Professor Maine. 

The Institutes of Justinian commenced with the law of 
persons, recognizing the distinction of ranks. All i^awof 
persons are capable of enjoying civil rights, but p^^^^^^- 
not all in the same degree. Greater privileges are allowed 
to men than to women, to freemen than to slaves, to 
fathers than to children. 

In the eye of the law all Roman citizens were equal, 
wherever they lived, whether in the capital or Equality of 
the provinces. Citizenship embraced both politi- "'™'^^- 
cal and civil rights. The political rights had reference to 
the right of voting in the comitia, but this was not con- 
sidered the essence of citizenship, which was the enjoyment 
of the connuhium and eommercium. By the former the 
citizen could contract a valid marriage, and acquire the 
rights resulting from it, particularly the paternal power ; 
by the latter he coukl acquire and dispose of property. 
Citizenship was acquired by birth and by manumission ; it 
was lost when a Roman became a prisoner of war, or 
had been exiled for crime, or became a citizen of another 
state. An unsullied reputation was necessary for a citizen 
to exercise his rights to their full extent. 

The Roman jurists acknowledged all persons originally 
free by natural law ; and, while they recognized slavery, 
ascribed the power of masters entirely to the law and cus- 
tom of nations. Persons taken in war were considered at 
the absolute control of their captors, and were therefore, 
de facto ^ slaves ; and the children of a female 
slave followed the condition of their mother, and 
belonged to her master. But masters could manumit 



236 Roman Jurisprudence, [Chap. VI. 

their slaves, who thus became Roman citizens, with some 
restrictions. Until the time of Justinian, they were not 
allowed to wear the gold ring, the distinguishing symbol 
of a man born free. This emperor removed all restrictions 
between freedmen and citizens. Previously, after the 
emancipation of a slave, he was bound to render certain 
services to his former master as patron, and if the freed- 
man died intestate his property reverted to his patron. 
Marriage was contracted by the simple consent of the 
parties, thouMi in early times, equality of condi- 
tion was required. The lex Canuleia, a. u. c. 
309, authorized connubium between patricians and plebe- 
ians, and the lex Julia., a. u. c. 757, allowed it between 
freedmen and freeborn. By the conventio in manum^ a 
wife passed out of her family into that of her husband, who 
acquired all her property ; without it, the woman remained 
in the power of her father, and retained the free disposition 
of her property. Poligamy was not permitted ; and rela- 
tionship within certain degrees rendered the parties inca- 
pable of contracting marriage, and these rules as to for- 
bidden degrees have been substantially adopted in England. 
Celibacy was discouraged. The law of Augustus Julia 
et Papia Poppoea contained some seven regulations against 
it, which were abolished by Constantine. Concubinage was 
allowed, if a man had not a wife, and provided the concu- 
bine was not the wife of another man. This heathenish 
custom was abrogated by Justinian.^ The wife was en- 
titled to protection and support from her husband, and she 
i-etained her property independent of her husband, when 
the conventio was abandoned, as it was ultimately. The 
father gave his daughter, on her marriage, a dowry in 
])roi)ortion to his means, the management of which, with 
its fruits during marriage, belonged to the husband ; but 
he could not alienate real estate without the wife's consent, 
and on the dissolution of marriao-e the do8 reverted to the 

1 D. 25. 7. C. 5, 26. 



Chap. VI.] Paternal Power, 237 

wife. Divorce existed in all ages at Rome, and was very 
common at the commencement of the empire. To check 
its prevalence, laws were passed inflicting severe penalties 
on those whose bad conduct led to it. Everyman, whether 
married or not, could adopt children, under certain restric- 
tions, and they passed entirely under paternal power. But 
the marriao;e relation among: the Romans did not accord 
after all with tliose principles of justice which we see in 
other parts of their legislative code. The Roman husband, 
like the father, was a tyrant. The facility of divorce de- 
stroyed mutual confidence, and inflamed every trifling dis- 
pute, for a word, or a message, or a letter, or the mandate 
of a freedman, was quitd sufficient to secure a separation. 
It was not until Christianity became the religion of the 
empire, that divorce could not be easily effected without 
a just cause. 

Nothing: is more remarkable in the Roman laws than the 
extent of paternal power. It was unjust, and patemai 
bears the image of a barbarous age. Moreover, p°'*^*^'*- 
it seems to have been coeval with the foundation of the 
city. A father could chastise his children by stripes, by 
imprisonment, by exile, by sending them to the country 
with chains on their feet. He was even armed with the 
power of life and death. " Neither age nor rank, nor the 
consular office, could exempt the most illustrious citizen 
from the bonds of filial subjection. Without fear, though 
not without danger of abuse, the Roman legislators had re- 
posed unbounded confidence in the sentiments of paternal 
love, and the oppression was tempered by the assurance that 
each generation must succeed in its turn to the awful dig- 
nity of parent and master." ^ By an express law of the 
Twelve Tables a father could sell his children as slaves. 
But the abuse of paternal power was checked in the re- 
public by the censors, and afterwards by emperors. Alex- 
ander Severus limited the right of the father to simple 

1 Gibbon, c. xlir. 



238 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. vi. 

correction, and Constantine declared the father who should 
kill his son to be guilty of murder.^ The rigor of parents 
in reference to the disposition of the property of children, 
was also gradually relaxed. Under Augustus, the son could 
keep absolute possession of what he had acquired in war. 
Under Constantine, he could retain any property acquired 
in the civil service, and all property inherited from the 
mother could also be retained. In later times, a father 
could not give his son or daughter to another by adoption 
without their consent. Thus t\\\?> patria potestas was grad- 
ually relaxed as civilization advanced, though it remained 
a peculiarity of Roman law to the latest times, and severer 
than is ever seen in the modern world.^ No one but a 
Roman citizen could exercise this awful paternal power, 
nor did it cease until the father died, or the dauoihter had 
entered into marriage with the eonventio in manum. Ille- 
gitimate children were treated as if they had no father, 
and the mother was bound to support them until Justinian 
save to natural children a right to demand aliment from 
their father.^ Fathers were bound to maintain their chil- 
dren when they had no separate means to supply their 
wants, and children were also bound to maintain their 
parents in want. These reciprocal duties, creditable to the 
Roman law-givers, are recognized in the French Code, but 
not in the English, which also recognizes the right of a 
father to bequeath his whole estate to strangers, which the 
Roman fathers had not power to do.^ The age when 
children attain majority among the Romans, was twenty- 
five years. Women were condemned to the perpetual 
tutelage of parents, husbands, or guardians, as it was sup- 
posed they never could attain to the age of reason and ex- 
perience. The relation of guardian and ward was strictly 
observed by the Romans. They made a distinction be- 
tween the right to govern a person, and the right to man- 

1 Ch. iv. 17. 2 Maine, Ancient Law, p. 143. 

* N. 8'J, ch. xii. 4 Lord Mackenzie, p. 142. 



Chap. VI.] Law8 of Real Rights. 239 

age his estate, although the tutor could do both. If the 
pupil was an infant, the tutor could act without the inter- 
vention of the pupil ; if the pupil was above seven years 
of age, he was considered to have an imperfect wilL The 
tutor managed the estate of the pupil, but was liable for 
loss occasioned by bad management. He could sell mova- 
ble property when expedient, but not real estate, without 
judicial authority. The tutor named by the father was 
preferred to all others. 

The Institutes of Justinian pass from persons to things, 
or the law relatino- to real rio;hts ; in other words, 

, 1 . , ? ^ o 1 • Realrights. 

that which pertams to property. Dome thnigs, 
common to all, like air, light, the ocean, and things sacred, 
like temples and churches, are not classed as property. 
Originally, the Romans divided things into res mancipi, and 
7'es nee maneipi. The former comprehended houses, lands, 
slaves, and beasts of burden, and could only be acquired 
by certain solemn forms, which, if not observed, the prop- 
erty was not legally transferred. The latter included all 
other things, and admitted of being transferred by simple 
tradition. 

Occupancy, one of the original modes of acquiring prop- 
erty, was applied to goods and persons taken in 

1 . -, , T , Occupancy. 

war ; to thmgs lost by neghgence, or chance, or 
thrown away by necessity; to pearls, shells, and precious 
stones found on the sea-shore ; to wild animals, to fish, to 
liidden treasure. 

Acquisition, by accession, pertained to the natural and 
industrial fruits of the land, the rents of houses, interest on 
money, the increase of animals, lands gained from the sea, 
and movables. 

Two things were required for the transfer of property, 
for it is the essence of property that the owner Transferor 
of a thing should have the right to transfer it, — property, 
first, the consent of the former owner to transfer the thing 
upon some just ground ; and secondly, the actual delivery 



240 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. vi. 

of the thing to the person who is to acquire it. Movables 
were presumed to be the property of the possessors, until 
positive evidence was produced to the contrary. A pre- 
scriptive title to movables was acquired by possession for 
one year, and to immovables by possession for two years. 
Undisturbed possession for thirty years constituted in gen- 
eral a valid title. When a Roman died, his heirs suc- 
ceeded to all his property, by hereditary right. If he left 
no will, his estate devolved upon his relations in a certain 
order prescribed by law. The power of making a testa- 
ment only belonged to citizens above puberty. Children 
under the paternal power could not make a will. Males 
above fourteen, and females above twelve, when not under 
power, could make wills without the authority of their 
guardian ; but pupils, lunatics, prisoners of war, criminals, 
and various other persons, were incapable of making a tes- 
tament. The testator could divide his property among his 
heirs in such proportions as he saw fit ; but if there was no 
distribution, all the heirs participated equally. A man 
could disinherit either of his children by declaring his in- 
tentions in his will, but only for grave reasons, such as 
grievously injuring his person or character or feelings, or 
attempting his life. No will was eflPectual unless one or 
more persons were appointed heirs to represent the de- 
ceased. AVills were required to be signed by the testator, 
or some person for him, in the presence of seven witnesses 
who were Roman citizens. If a will was made by a parent 
for distributing his property solely among his children, no 
witnesses were required, and the ordinary formalities were 
dispensed with among soldiers in actual service, and during 
the prevalence of pestilence. The testament was opened in 
the presence of the witnesses, or a majority of them ; and 
after they had acknowledged their seals, a copy was made, 
and the original was deposited in the public archives. Ac- 
Testaments cording to the Twelve Tables, the powers of a 
cies. testator m disposing ot his property were unJim- 



Chap. VI.] Laws of Succession, 241 

ited, but in process of time laws were enacted to restrain 
immoderate or unnatural' bequests. By the Falcidian law, 
in the time of Augustus, no one could leave in legacies 
more than three fourths of his estate, so that the heirs could 
inherit at least one fourth. Again a law was passed, by 
which the descendants were entitled to one third of the 
succession, and to one half if there were more than four. 
In France if a man die leaving one lawful child, he can 
only dispose of half of his estate by will ; if he leaves two 
children, the third ; if he leaves three or more, the fourth.^ 
In Encrland a man can cut off both his wife and children.^ 
The Romans recognized bequests in trust, besides testa- 
ments, by which property descended directly to the heir. 
The person charged with a trust was bound to restore the 
subject at the time appointed by the testator. • The trustee 
could not alienate an estate without the consent of all the 
parties interested, except for the payment of debts. All 
persons capable of making a will could leave legacies, real 
or personal, but these were not due if the testator died in- 
solvent. When a man died intestate, the sue- ^awsof 
cession devolved on the descendants of the de- succession, 
ceased ; but, these failing, the nearest ascendants were 
called ; if there were brothers and sisters, they were en- 
titled to succeed together along with the ascendants in the 
same class. Children succeeded to property, if their father 
died intestate, in equal portions, without distinction of sex, 
and if there was only one child he took the whole estate. 
A descendant of either sex, or any degree, was preferred to 
all ascendants and collaterals. The descendants of a son 
or daughter, who had predeceased, took the same share of 
the succession that their parent would have done had he 
been alive. In England, if all the children are dead, and 
only grandchildren exist, they all take, not by families, but 
per capita^ equal shares in their own right as next of kin, 
and Mackenzie thinks this arrangement is more equitable 

1 Code Civile Art. 913. 2 Williams, Exec, p. 3. 

16 



242 Roman Jurisprudence, [Chap, vl 

than the Roman.^ If there were no descendants, the Ro- 
man father and mother, and other ascendants, excluded all 
collaterals from the succession except brothers and sisters 
of the whole blood, and the children of deceased brothers 
and sisters. When ascendants stood alone, the father and 
mother succeeded in equal portions, and if only one sur- 
vived, he or she succeeded to the whole, so that grandpa- 
rents were excluded. If there were brothers and sisters of 
the whole blood, the estate was divided among them in cap- 
ita^ according to the number of persons, including the father 
and mother. The children of a deceased brother were not 
admitted to the succession along with ascendants and sur- 
viving brothers and sisters.^ If a person died leaving 
neither ascendants nor descendants, his brothers and sisters 
The laws iu succccded to liis cstatc in equal shares. And if 
inheritance. ^^^ intcstate left also nephews and nieces by a 
deceased brother or sister, these succeeded, along with 
their uncles and aunts, to the share their parent would 
have taken. On the failure of brothers and sisters by the 
whole blood, the brother and sisters by the half blood suc- 
ceeded, and if any of these brothers and sisters have died 
leaving children, the right of representation was extended 
to them also, just as in the case of children of brothers-ger- 
man. When husband or wife died, without leaving rela- 
tions, the survivor was called to the succession. A widow 
who was poor and unprovided for had a right to share in 
the succession of her deceased husband. When he left 
more than three descendants, she was entitled to partici- 
pate with them equally. If there were only three or 
fewer, she was entitled to one fourth of the estate. If 
she had children by the deceased, she had only the usu- 
fruct of her portion during her life, and was bound to pre- 
serve it for them. If a man had no legitimate children, he 
could leave his whole inheritance to his natural children, 
or to their mother ; but if he had lawful children, he could 

1 Mackenzie, p. 288. 2 ibid. 290. 



Chap. VI.] Contracts and Loans, 243 

leave only one twelfth to the natural children and their 
mother. If the father died intestate, without leaving a 
lawful wife or issue, his natural children and their mother 
were entitled to one sixth of the succession, and the rest 
was divided among the lawful heirs. 

In the matter of contracts, the Roman law was especially 
comprehensive, and the laws of France and Scot- 
land are substantially based upon the Roman 
system. The Institutes of Gains and Justinian distinguish 
four sorts of obligation, — aut re, aut verbis^ aut Uteris^ aut 
consenser. Gibbon, in his learned chapter, prefers to con- 
sider the specific obligations of men to each other under 
promises, benefits, and injuries. Lord Mackenzie treats 
the subject in the order of the Institutes. 

'" Obligations contracted re — by the intervention of 
things — are called by the moderns real contracts, because 
they are not perfected till something has passed from one 
party to another. Of this description are the contracts of 
loan, deposit, and pledge. Till the subject is actually lent, 
deposited, or pledged, it does not form the special contract 
of loan, deposit, or pledge." ^ 

In regard to loans, the borrower was obliged to take 
care of it as if it were his own. In rebus com- 
modatis talis diligentia prcestanda est, qualem 
quisque diligentissimus paterfamilias suis rebus adhibet.'^ He 
could only use a thing for the purpose for which it was 
lent ; he could not keep it beyond the time agreed upon, 
nor detain it as a set-off against any debt. He was bound 
to restore the article in the same condition as received, 
subject only to the deterioration arising from reasonable 
use, whether a horse, a house, or a carriage. And he was 
required to make good all injuries caused by his own fault 
or negligence. If the article perished, without any blame 
or neglect, the loss fell on the owner. If the loan was for 
consumption, which was called mutuum, like corn, or oil, 

1 Mackenzie. 2 d. 13, 6, 1 pr. 



244 Rovian Jurisprudence, [Chap. vi. 

or wine, the borrower was required to return as much of 
the same kind and quality, whether the price of the com- 
modity had risen or fallen. In a loan of money, under 
mutuum, the borrower was not required to pay interest. 
Interest was only due ex lege, or by agreement. The rate 
varied at different times ; generally, it was eight and one 
third per cent., and even more than this in the latter years 
of the republic. Justinian introduced a scale which varied 
with different classes of society. Persons of illustrious 
rank could lend money at four per cent., ordinary people 
at six, and for maritime risks twelve ; but it was unlawful 
to charge interest upon interest.^ Property would double, 
at eight and one third, in twelve years, not so rapidly as by 
our system of compound interest, especially at the rate of 
seven per cent. In England the usuiy laws of different 
monarchs limited interest from ten per cent, to five ; but 
these were repealed in 1854. Only five per cent, can now 
be recovered upon any contract. 

A deposit differed from a loan in this, — that the deposi- 
tary was not entitled to any use of a thing de- 

.11 11 . . 1 Deposits. 

posited, and was bound to preserve it with rea- 
sonable care, and restore it on demand. As he derived no 
advantage, he was entitled to be reimbursed for all neces- 
sary charges. Ship-masters, innkeepers, and stablers, were 
responsible for the luggage and effects of travellers intrusted 
to their care, which policy is now adopted in both Europe 
and America, on the ground that if they were not held 
strictly to their charge, being not a very reputable class of 
men in ancient times, they might be in league with thieves. 
An innkeeper was therefore held responsible for loss, or 
damage, or theft, to secure the protection of travellers, whose 
patronage was a compensation. In case of robbery, when 
goods were taken by superior force, he was not responsible, 
nor was he for loss occasioned by inevitable accident. 
At Rome, pledges were customary, as a security for 

1 C. 4, 32, 26, § 1. 



Chap. VI.] Contracts and Written Obligations, 245 

money due, on condition of their restoration after the pay- 
ment of a debt. Real property, Hke houses pi^dgesand 
and lands, as well as movables, were the subject ^^'=""'^i«s- 
of pledge.^ The creditor was bound to bestow ordinary 
care and diligence in the preservation of the subject, but 
he could not use it, or take the profits of it, without a 
special contract. By the pactum antichresis^ the creditor 
was allowed to take the profits in lieu of the interest on his 
debt ; by the lex commissoria, the thing pledged became 
the absolute property of the creditor if the debt was not 
paid at the time agreed on. But as this condition was 
found to be a source of oppression, it was prohibited by a 
law of Constantine.2 When the debt, interest, and all 
necessary expenses were paid, the debtor was entitled to 
have his pledge restored to him. After the time of pay- 
ment was passed, the creditor had a right to sell the pledge, 
and retain his debt out of the produce of the sale ; if there 
was a deficiency, the balance could be recovered by an 
action ; if there was a surplus, the debtor was entitled to 
it. The Roman pledge was of the nature of the modern 
business of pawnbroking and of a mortgage. 

Next to the perfection of contracts by the intervention 
of things re, were obligations contracted by ver- verbal con- 
bis — solemn words — and by Uteris or writing. *^^*^' 
The verborum obligatio was contracted by uttering certain 
formal words of style, an interrogation being put by one 
party and an answer given by the other. These stipula- 
tions were binding. In England all guarantees must be in 
writing. 

The obligatio Uteris was a written acknowledgment of 
debt chiefly employed when money was borrowed, -^^^^^^^ oi,. 
but the creditor could not sue upon the note ^^s^ti^i^^- 
within two years from its date, without being called upon 
also to prove that the money was in fact paid to the debtor. 

Contracts perfected by consent — consenses — had refer- 

1 D. 20, 1. 2 c. 7, 35. 



246 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. vi. 

ence to sale, hiring, partnership, and mandate. All con- 
tracts of sale were good without writing. Wlien an 
article was sold and delivered, the market price, 
as fixed bj custom, determined the price, if nothing had 
been said about it. The seller was bound to warrant that 
the thing sold was free from defects, and when the subject 
did not answer this implied warranty, the sale might be set 
aside. But the seller could stipulate that he should not be 
held to warrant against defects. Property was not trans- 
ferred without actual delivery. When the sale was com- 
pleted, all the risks of the thing sold passed to the pur- 
chaser. In the case of commodities sold by weight, 
number, or measure, the contract was not completed until 
the goods were weighed, counted, or measured, which 
sometimes caused considerable difficulty. After delivery, 
the seller was bound to warrant the title to the buyer, and 
to indemnify him for any loss.^ 

In regard to hiring, all sorts of things, which were the 
subject of commerce, may be let for hire. Leases 
of land and houses come under this head. They 
were generally given for five years, and unless there was 
an express stipulation, the lessee might sublet t.o another. 
The lessor was required to deliver the subject in a good 
state of repair, and maintain it in that condition, and to 
guarantee its peaceable enjoyment ; the lessee was bound 
to use the subject well, to put it to no use except that for 
which it was let, to preserve it in good condition, and re- 
store it at the end of the term. He was bound also to pay 
the rent at the stipulated period, and when two years' rent 
were in arrear, the tenant could be ejected. The tenant 
of a farm was entitled to a remission of his rent if his crop 
was destroyed by an unforeseen accident or calamity. A 
contractor who agreed to undertake a piece of work was 
required to finish it in a proper manner, and if from negli- 
gence or ignorance the work was defective, he was liable to 

1 D. 22, 2. C. 8, 45. 



Chap. VI.] Agents and Partners, 247 

damages. In a partnership, if there were no express 
agreement, the shares of profit and loss were divided 
equally. Each partner was bound to exercise Af^entsand 
the same care for the joint concern as if it were ^^^*°®^^- 
his own. The acts of one partner were not binding on an- 
other, if he acted beyond the scope of the partnership. If 
one of the partners advanced money on account of the part- 
nership, each of the partners were bound to contribute to 
the indemnity in proportion to his share of the concern ; 
and if any of them became insolvent, the solvent share- 
holders were obliged to make up the deficiency.^ An agent 
could be employed to transact business for another, but 
was required to act strictly according to his orders, and the 
mandant, who gave the orders, was bound to ratify what 
was done by the mandatary, and to reimburse him for all 
advances and expenses incurred in executing the commis- 
sion. By the Roman law agents were not remunerated. 
Donations could not be made beyond a certain maximum. 
Justinian ordered that when gifts exceeded five hundred 
solidi, a formal act stating the particulars of the donation 
should be inscribed in a public register. 

When. a person spontaneously assumed the management 
of the affairs of another in his absence, and without any 
mandate, this was called negotiorum gestio, and the person 
was bound to perform any act which he had begun, as if 
he held a proper mandate, and strictly account for his man- 
agement, while the principal was bound to indemnify him 
for all advances and expenses. 

When money was paid through error it could be recov- 
ered, under certain circumstances. But this point is a 
matter concerning which the jurists differ. 

Acts which caused damage to another obliged the wrong- 
doer to make reparation, and this responsibility extended 
to damages arising not only from positive acts, but from 
negligence or imprudence. In an action of libel or slan- 

1 D. 17, 2, 67. 



248 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. vi. 

der, the truth of the allegation might be pleaded in justifi- 
cation.^ In all cases it was necessary to show 
that an injury had been committed maliciously. 
But if damage arose in the exercise of a right, as killing a 
slave in self-defense, no claim for reparation could 
be maintained. If any one exercised a profes- 
sion or trade for which he was not qualified, he was liable 
to all the damage his want of skill or knowledo-e mio^ht 
occasion. When any damage was done by a slave or an 
animal, the owner of the same was liable for the loss, 
thouo;h the mischief was done without his knowledo-e and 
against his will. If any thing was thrown from a window 
of a house near the public thoroughfare, so as to injure any 
one by the fall, the occupier was bound to repair the dam- 
age, though done by a stranger. Claims arising under obli- 
gations might be transferred to a third person, by sale, 
exchange, or donation ; but to prevent speculators from pur- 
chasing debts at low prices, it was ordered that the assignee 
should not be entitled to exact from the debtor more than 
he himself had paid to acquire the debt with interest, — a 
wise and just regulation which it would be well for us to 
copy. In regard to the extinction of obligations the cred- 
itor is not bound to accept of payments by instalments, or 
any thing short of proper paj^ment at the time and place 
agreed upon. When several debts were due, the debtor, 
in making payment, could appropriate it to any one he 
pleased.^ When performance became impossible, without 
any fault of the debtor, such as when the specific subject 
had perished by unavoidable accident, the obligation was 
extinguished ; but if the impossibility was caused by the 
fault of the debtor, he was still liable. This was a great 
modification of the severity of the ancient code, when a 
debtor could- be sold into slavery for his debt. As certain 
contracts are formed by consent alone, so tliey could be 
extinguished by the mutual consent of the contracting par- 

1 D. 47, 10, 18. '^ D. 46, 3, 1. 



Chap. VI.] Roman Judges, 249 

ties, without performance on either side. In some cases 
the mere lapse of time extinguished an obligation, as in ac- 
cordance with the modern system of outlawry. 

The next great, department of Roman jurisprudence 
pertained to actions and procedure. The state ^awof 
conferred on a magistrate or judge jurisdiction to *"^^^- 
determine questions according to law. Civil jurisdiction 
pertains to questions of private right ; criminal jurisdiction 
takes cognizance of crimes. When jurisdiction was con- 
ferred on a Roman magistrate, he acquired all the powers 
necessary to exercise it. The imperium merum' gave the 
power to inflict punishment ; the imperium mixtum was the 
power to carry civil decrees into execution. A real action 
was directed against a person in the territory where the 
subject in dispute was located. 

By the ancient constitution, the king had the preroga- 
tive of determinins: civil causes. The right then devolved 
on the consuls, afterwards on the praetor, and in certain 
cases on the curule and plebeian ediles, who were charged 
with the internal police of the city. 

The praetor, a magistrate next in dignity to the consuls, 
acted as sui:)reme iudge of the civil courts, as- 

., p . . . The Praetors. 

sisted by a council of jurisconsults to determine 
questions in law. At first one praetor was sufficient, but 
as the limits of the city and empire extended, he was joined 
by a colleague. After the conquest of Sicily, Sardinia, and 
the two Spains, new praetors were appointed to administer 
justice in the provinces. The praetor held his court in the 
comitium, wore a robe bordered with purple, sat in a cu- 
rule chair, and was attended by lictors. 

The praetor delegated his power to judges, called Judex, 
Arbiter, and Recuperatores. When parties w^ere other 
at issue about facts, it was the custom for the prae- J"*^ses. 
tor to fix the question of law upon which the action turned, 
and then to remit to a delegate to inquire into the facts 
and pronounce judgment according to them. In the time 



250 Roman Jurisprudence, [Chap. vi. 

of Augustus there were four thousand judlces, who were 
merely private citizens, generally senators or men of con- 
sideration. The judex was invested by the magistrate 
with a judicial commission for a single case only. After 
being sworn to duty, he received from the praetor a formula 
containing a summary of all the points under litigation, from 
which he was not allowed to depart. He was required 
not merely to investigate facts, but to give sentence. And 
as law questions were more or less mixed up with the case, 
he was allowed to consult one or more jurisconsults. If 
the case was beyond his power to decide, he could decline 
to give judgment. The arbiter, like the judex, received a 
formula from the praetor, and seemed to have more exten- 
sive power. The recuperatores heard and determined 
cases, but the number appointed for each case was usually 
three or five. 

The centumvirs constituted a permanent tribunal com- 
Thecen- poscd of members annually elected, in equal num- 
tumvirs. bers, from each tribe, and this tribunal was pre- 
sided over by the praetor, and divided into four chambers, 
which, under the republic, was placed under the ancient 
quaestors. The centumvirs decided questions of property, 
embracing a wide range of subjects.^ The Romans had no 
class of men like the judges of modern times. The supe- 
rior magistrates were changed annually, and political duties 
were mixed with judicial. The evil was partially remedied 
by the institution of legal assessors, sekctedfrom the most 
learned jurisconsults. Under the empire, the pra2tors were 
greatly increased. Under Tiberius, there were sixteen 
who administered justice, beside the consuls, six ediles, and 
ten tribunes of the people. The emperor himself became 
the supreme judge, and he was assisted in the discharge of 
his judicial duties by a council composed of the consuls, a 
magistrate of each grade, and fifteen senators. The |)rae- 
torian prefects, although, at first, their duties were purely 

1 Cicero de Orat.^ j. 38. 



Chap. VI.] Condition of Debtors. 251 

military, finally discharged important judicial functions. 
The prefect of the city, in the time of the emperors, was 
a great judicial personage, who heard appeals from the 
prsetors themselves. 

In all cases brought before the courts, the burden of 
proof was with the party asserting an affirmative fact. 
Proof by writinp; was generally considered most 

Witnesses. 

certain, but proof by witnesses was also ad- 
mitted. Pupils, lunatics, infamous persons, interested par- 
ties, near relations, and slaves, could not bear evidence, or 
any person who had a strong enmity against the party. 
The witnesses were required to give their testimony on 
oath. Two witnesses were enough to prove a fact, in most 
instances. When witnesses gave conflicting testimony, the 
judge regarded those who were worthy of credit rather 
than numbers. In the English courts, the custom used to 
be as with the Romans, of refusing testimony from those 
who were interested, but this has been removed. On the 
failure of regular proof, the Roman law allowed a party to 
refer the facts in a civil action to the oath of his adver- 
sary. 

Under the empire every judgment was reduced to writ- 
ing and signed by the judge, and then entered upon a 
register.^ After the sentence, the debtor was condition of 
allowed thirty days for the payment of his debt, <^^'^*°^^- 
after which he was assigned over to the creditor and kept 
in chains for sixty days, during which he was publicly ex- 
posed for three market days, and if no one released him by 
paying the debt, he could be sold as a slave. Justinian 
extended the period to four months for the payment of a 
judgment debt, after which, if the debt was not paid, the 
debtor could be imprisoned, but not, as formerly, in the 
creditor's house. At first the goods of the debtor were 
sold in favor of any one who offered to pay the largest divi- 
dend, but in process of time, the goods of the debtor were 

1 C. vii. 45, 12. 



252 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. vi. 

sold in detail, and all creditors were paid a ratable divi- 
dend. In no respect are modern codes superior to the 
Roman, so much as in reference to imprisonment for debt. 
In the United States it has practically ceased, and in Eng- 
land no one can be imprisoned for a debt under .£20, 
and in France under <£8. 

Under the Roman republic, there was no appeal in civil 
suits, but under the emperors a regular system 
was established. Under Augustus, there was an 
appeal from all the magistrates to the prefect of the city, 
and from him to the praetorian prefect or emperor. In the 
provinces there was an appeal from the municipal magis- 
trates to the governors, and from them to the emperor. 
Under Justinian, no appeal was allowed from a suit which 
did not involve at least twenty pounds in gold. 

In regard to criminal courts, among the Romans, dur- 
Criminai ^^^g ^^^ rcpubUc, tlic ouly body which had ab- 
courts. solute power of life and death was the comitia 

centuriata. The Senate had no jurisdiction in criminal 
cases, so far as Roman citizens were concerned. It was 
only in extraordinary emergencies that the Senate, with the 
consuls, assumed the responsibility of inflicting summary 
punishment. Under the emperors, the Senate was armed 
with the power of criminal jurisdiction. And as the Sen- 
ate was the tool of the imperator, he could crush whomso- 
ever he pleased. 

As it was inconvenient, when Rome had become a very 
great city, to convene the comitia for the trial of offenders, 
the expedient was adopted of delegating the jurisdiction of 
the people to persons invested with temporary authority, 
called quoisitores. These were established at length into 
regular and permanent courts, called qucestiones perpetuce. 
Every case submitted to these courts was tried by a judge 
and jury. It was the duty of the judge to preside and 
regulate proceedings according to law ; and it was tlie duty 
of the jury, after hearing the evidence and pleadings, to 



Chap. VI.] Crimes. — Treason. 253 

decide upon the guilt or innocence of the accused. As 
many as fifty persons frequently composed the jury, whose 
names were drawn out of an urn. Each party had a right 
to challenge a certain number, and the verdict was decided 
by a majority of votes. At first the judices were chosen 
from the Senate, and afterwards from the Equestrians, and 
then again from both orders. But in process of time the 
qucestiones perpetuce gave place to imperial magistrates. 
The accused defended himself in person or by counsel. 

The Romans divided crimes into public and private. 
Private crimes could only be prosecuted by the 

'Z ^ ^ "^ Crimes. 

party injured, and were generally punished by 
pecuniary fines, as among the old Germanic nations. 

Of public crimes, the crimen Icesce majestatis^ or trea- 
son, was regarded as the greatest, and this was 

Treason. 

punished with death, and with confiscation of 
goods,^ while the memory of the offender was declared 
infamous. Greater severity could scarcely be visited on a 
culprit. Treason comprehended conspiracy against the 
government, assisting the enemies of Rome, and miscon- 
duct in the command of armies. Thus Manlius, in spite 
of his magnificent services, was hurled from the Tarpeian 
Rock, because he was convicted of an intention to seize 
upon the government. Under the empire, not only any 
attempt on the life of the emperor was treason, but disre- 
spectful words or acts. The criminal was even tried after 
death,^ that his memory might become infamous, and this 
barbarous practice existed even in France and Scotland, as 
late as the beginning of the seventeenth century. In Eng- 
land, men have been executed for treasonable words. Be- 
side treason there were other crimes against the state, such 
as a breach of the peace, extortion on the part of provincial 
governors, embezzlement of public property, stealing sacred 
things, bribery, most of which offenses were punished by 
pecuniary penalties. 

1 I. 4, 18, 3. 2 c. 9, 8, 6. 



254 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. vi. 

But there were also crimes against individuals which 
Capital pun- wcre punislied with the death penalty. Willful 
ishments. murder, poisoning, parricide, were capitally pun- 
ished. Adultery was punished by banishment, beside a 
forfeiture of considerable property.^ Constantine made it 
a capital offense. The Romans made adultery to consist 
in sexual intercourse with another man's wife, but not with 
a woman who was not married, even if he were married. 
Rape was punished with death ^ and confiscation of goods, 
as in England till a late period, when transportation for 
life became the penalty. The punishments inflicted for 
forgery, coining base money, and perjury, were arbitrary. 
Robbery, theft, patrimonial damage, and injury to person 
and property, were private trespasses, and not punished by 
the state. After a lapse of twenty years, without accusa- 
tion, crimes were supposed to be extinguished. The Cor- 
nelian, Pompeian, and Julian laws formed .the foundation 
of criminal jurisprudence, which never attained the per- 
fection that was seen In the Civil Code. It was In this that 
the full maturity of wisdom was seen. The emperors 
greatly increased the severity of punishments, as probably 
necessary in a corrupt state of society. After the decem- 
criminaiiaw viral laws fell luto dlsusc, the Romans, In the 
ameliorated, days of the rcpublic, passed from extreme rigor 
to great lenity, as is observable In the transition from the 
Puritan regime to our times in the United States. Capi- 
tal punishment for several centuries was exceedingly rare, 
and this was prevented by voluntary exile. Under the 
empire, public executions were frequent and revoftlng. 

Fines were a common mode of punishment with the 
Romans, as with the early Germans. Imprison- 
ment in a public jail was also rare, the custom of 
bail beino; in general use. Althoucih retaliation was author- 
ized by the Twelve Tables for bodily injuries, it was seldom 
exacted, since pecuniary compensation was taken in lieu. 

1 D. 48, 5. 2 c. 9, 13. 



CnAP. VI.] Capital Punishment, 255 

Corporal punishments were inflicted upon slaves, but rarely 
upon citizens, except for military crimes. But Roman citi- 
zens could be sold into slavery for various offenses, chiefly 
military, and criminals were often condemned to labor in 
the mines or upon public works. Banishment was common 
— aquce et ignis inter dictio — and this was equiv- 
alent to the deprivation or the necessities ot hie, 
and incapacitating a person from exercising the rights of 
citizenship. Under the emperors, persons were confined 
often on the rocky islands off the coast, or a compulsory 
residence in a particular place assigned. Thus Chrysostom 
was sent to a dreary place on the banks of the Euxine. 
Ovid was banished to Tomi. Death, when inflicted, was 
by hanging, scourging, and beheading, also by strangling 
in prison. Slaves were often crucified, and were com- 
pelled to carry their cross to the place of execution. This 
was the most ignominious and lingering of all deaths. It 
was abohshed by Constantine from reverence to the sacred 
symbol. Under the emperors, execution took place also 
by burning alive and exposure to wild beasts. It was thus 
the early Christians were tormented, since their offense 
was associated with treason. Persons of distinction were 
treated with more favor than the lower classes, and the 
punishment was less cruel and ignominious. Thus Seneca, 
condemned for privity to treason, was allowed to choose his 
mode of death. The criminal laws of modern European 
states followed too often the barbarous custom of the em- 
perors until a recent date. Since the French Revolution, 
the severity of the penal codes has been much modified. 

The penal statutes of Rome, as Gibbon emphatically re- 
marks, " formed a very small portion of the Code and the 
Pandects ; and in all judicial proceedings, the life or death 
of the citizen was determined \vith less caution and delay 
than the most ordinary question of covenant or inherit- 
ance." This was owing to the complicated relations of 
society, by which obligations are created or annulled, while 



256 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. "VI. 

duties to the state are explicit and well known, being in- 
scribed not only on tables of brass, but on the conscience 
itself. It was natural, with the growth and development 
of commerce and dominion, that questions would arise 
w^hich could not be ordinarily settled by ancient customs, 
and the practice of lawyers and the decisions of judges 
continually raised new diiBculties, to be met only by new 
edicts. It is a pleasing fact to record that jurisprudence 
became more just and enlightened as it became more in- 
Exceiience tricatc. The principles of equity were more re- 
pertaTning to g^i'dcd uuder thc cmpcrors than in the time of 
property. Cato. It is iu the application of these principles 
that the laws of the Romans have obtained so high consid- 
eration. Their abuse consisted in the expense of litigation, 
and the advantages which the rich thus- obtained over the 
poor. But if delays and forms led to an expensive and 
vexatious administration of justice, these were more than 
compensated by the checks which a complicated jurispru- 
dence gave to hasty or partial decisions. It was in the 
minuteness and precision of the forms of law, and in the 
foresight with which questions were anticipated in the va- 
rious transactions of business, that prove that the Romans, 
in their civil and social relations, were very much on a 
level w^ith modern times. And it would be difficult to find, 
in the most enlightened of modern codes, greater wisdom 
and foresight than what appear in the legacy of Justinian, 
as to all questions pertaining to the nature, the acquisi- 
tion, the possession, the use, and the transfer of property. 
Civil obligations are most admirably defined, and all con- 
tracts are determined by the wisest application of the natu- 
ral principles of justice. What can be more enlightened 
than the laws which relate to leases, to sales, to partner- 
ships, to damages, to pledges, to hiring of work, and to 
quasi contracts ! How clear the laws pertaining to the 
succession to property, to the duties of guardians, to the 
rights of wards, to legacies, to bequests in trust, and to 



Chap. VI.] Excellence of the Civil Law, 257 

the general limitation of testamentary powers ! How wise 
the remilations in reference to intestate succession, and to 
the division of property among males and females. We 
find no laws of entail, no nnequal rights, no absurd dis- 
tinctions between brothers, no peculiar privileges given to 
males over females, or to older sons. In the Institutes of 
Justinian, we see on every page a regard to the principles 
of natural justice. We discover that the property of the 
wife cannot be alienated nor mortgaged by a prodigal hus- 
band ; that wards are to be protected from the cupidity 
of guardians ; that property could be bequeathed by will, 
and that wills are sacred ; that all promises are to be ful- 
filled ; that he who is intrusted with the property of an- 
other is bound to restitution by the most imperative obHga- 
tions ; that usury should be restrained ; that all injuries 
should be repaired ; that cattle and slaves should be pro- 
tected from malice and negligence ; that atrocious cruelties 
in punishment should not be inflicted ; that malicious wit- 
nesses should be punished ; that corrupt judges should be 
visited with severe penalties ; that libels and satires should 
subject their authors to severe chastisement ; that every 
culprit should be considered innocent until his guilt was 
proved. In short, every thing pertaining to property and 
contracts and wills is guarded with the most zealous care. 
A man was sure of possessing his own, and of transmitting 
it to his children. • No infringement on personal rights 
could be tolerated. A citizen was free to go where j^j^jj^g ^f 
he pleased, to do whatsoever he would, if he did "^•^^"^• 
not trespass on the rights of another ; to seek his pleasure 
unobstructed, and pursue his business without vexatious 
incumbrances. If he was injured or cheated, he was sure 
of redress. Nor could he be easily defrauded with the 
sanction of the laws. A rigorous police guarded his per- 
son, his house, and his property. He was supreme and 
uncontrolled within his family. And this security to prop- 
erty and life and personal rights was guaranteed by the 

17 



258 Roman Jurisprudenee, [Chap. VI. 

greatest tyrants. The fullest personal liberty was enjoyed 
under the emperors, and it was under their sanction that 
jurisprudence, in some of the most important departments 
of life, reached perfection. If injustice was suffered, it 
was not on account of the laws, but the depravity of men,-_^ 
the venality of the rich, and the tricks of lawyers. But 
the laws were wise and equal. The civil jurisprudence 
could be copied with safety by the most enlightened of 
European states. And, indeed, it is the foundation of their 
civil codes, especially in France and Germany. 

That there were some features in the Roman laws 
which we, in these Christian times, cannot indorse, and 
whicJi we reprehend, cannot be denied. Under the re- 
Abuse of public, there was not sufficient limit to paternal 

paternal ^ ^ .,. .1 

power. power, and the paterfaymlias was necessarily a 

tyrant. It was unjust that the father should control the 
property of his son, and cruel that he was allowed such 
absolute control, not only over his children, but bis wife. 
But the limits of paternal power were more and more cur- 
tailed, so that under the latter emperors, fathers were not 
allowed to have more authority than was perhaps expe- 
dient. 

The recognition of slavery as a domestic institution was 
Eyiisof another blot, and slaves could be treated with 
slavery. ^]^^^ grosscst CRielty and injustice without redress. 
But here the Romans were not sinners beyond all other 
nations, and our modern times have witnessed a parallel. 

It was not the existence of slavery which was the great- 
est evil, but the facility by which slaves could be made. 
The laws pertaining to debt were severe, and it was most 
disgraceful to doom a debtor to the absolute power of a 
creditor. To subject men of the same blood to slaveiy 
for trifling debts, which they could not discharge, was the 
great defect of the Roman laws. But even these cruel 
regulations were modified, so that in the corrupt times of 
th'3 empire, there was no greater practical severity than 



Chap. VI.] Defects of the Roman Law, 259 

what was common in England one hundred years ago. 
The temptations to fraud were enormous in a wicked state 
of society, and demanded a severe remedy. It is possible 
that future ages may see too great leniency shown to debt- 
ors, who are not merely unfortunate but dishonest, in these 
our times ; and the problem is not yet solved, whether 
men should be severely handled who are guilty of reckless 
and unprincipled speculations and unscrupulous dealings, 
or whether they should be allowed immunity to prosecute 
their dangerous and diso-raceful courses. 

The facility of divorce was another stigma on the Roman 
laws, and the degradation of woman was the j-viis of 
principal consequence. But woman never was <^^<^^^®' 
honored in any pagan land. Her condition at Rome Avas 
better th?n it was at Athens. She always was regarded as 
a possession rather than as a free person. Her virtue was 
mistrusted, and her aspirations were scorned. She was 
hampered and guarded more like a slave than the equal 
companion of man. But the whole progress of legislation 
"was in her favor, and she continued to gain new privileges 
to the fall of the empire. 

Moreover, the penal code of the Romans, in reference 
to breaches of trust, or carelessness, or ignorance, severity of 
by which property was lost or squandered, may ^^^^^ ^^^' 
have been too severe, as is the case in England in refer- 
ence to hunting game on another's grounds. It w^as hard 
to doom a man to death who drove away his neighbor's 
cattle, or entered in the night his neighbor's house. But 
severe penalties alone will keep men from crimes where 
there is a low state of virtue and religion, and society be- 
comes impossible when there is no efficient protection to 
property. If sheep can be killed by dogs, if orchards can 
be stripped of their fruit, and jewelry be appropriated by 
servants with impunity, a great stimulus to honest industry 
is taken away, and men will be forced to seek more distant 
homes where they can reap the fruits of toil, or will give 



260 Roman Jurisprudence. [Chap. vi. 

up in despair. Society was never more secure and happy 
in England than when vagabonds could be arrested, and 
Certainty of wlicu petty larcenics were visited with certain 
punishment. retHbutiou. Evcry traveler in France and 
England feels that in regard to the punishment of crime, 
those old countries, restricted as are political privileges, 
are vastly superior to our own. The Romans lost, under 
the emperors, their political rights ; but they gained protec- 
tion and safety in their relations with society. And where 
quiet and industrious citizens feel safe in their homes, and 
are protected in their dealings from scoundrels, and have 
ample scope for industrial enterprise, and are free to choose 
their private pleasures, they resign themselves to the loss 
of electing their rulers without great unhappiness. There 
are greater evils in the world than the deprivation of the 
elective franchise, great and glorious as is this privilege. 
The arbitrary rule of the emperors was fatal to political 
aspirations and rights, but the evils of political slavery were 
qualified and set off by the excellence of the civil code, 
and the privileges of social freedom. 

The great practical evil connected with Roman juris- 
intricacy prudcuce was the intricacy and perplexity and 
tSnty°orthe uncertainty of the laws, together with the ex- 
law. pense involved in litigation. The class of law- 

yers was large, and their gains were extortionate. Justice 
was not always to be found on the side of right. The law 
was uncertain as well as costly. The most learned coun- 
sel could only be employed by the rich, and even judges 
were venal. So that the poor did not easily find adequate 
redress, and the good became an evil. But all this is the 
necessary attendant on a factitious state of society. Mate- 
rial civilization will lead to an undue estimate of money. 
And when money purchases all that artificial people desire, 
then all classes will prostitute themselves for its possession, 
and justice, dignity, and elevation of sentiment are forced 
to retreat, as hermits sought a solitude, when society had 



Chap. VI.] Authorities. 261 

reached its lowest degradation, out of pure despair of its 
renovation. 

The authorities for this chapter are very numerous. Since the In- 
stitutes of Gains have been recovered, very many eminent writers on 
Roman law have appeared, especially in Germany and France. Among 
those who could be cited, are Beaufort, Histoire de la Republique Ro- 
maine ; Colquhoun, Summary of the Roman Civil Law ; De Fresquet, 
Traite Elementaire de Droit Romain ; Ducaurroy (A. M. Professor of 
Roman Law at Paris), Les Institutes de Justinien nouvellement ex- 
pliquees ; Gneist (Dr. Reed), Institutionum et Regular um Juris 
Romani ; Halifax (Dr. Samuel), Analysis of the Roman Civil Law; 
Heineccius (Jo. Gott.), Elementa Juris Civilis Secundum Ordinem 
Institutionum ; Laboulaye, Essai sur les Lois Criminelles des Remains ; 
Long's Articles on Roman Law in Dr. Smith's Dictionary ; Maine's 
Ancient Law ; Gains, Institutionum Commentarii Quatuor ; Marezole 
(Theodore, Professor at Leipsic), Lebruch der Institutionem des Ro- 
mischen Rechts ; Maynz (Charles, Professor of Law at Brussels), Ele- 
ments du Droit Romain ; Ortolan (M., Professor at Paris), Explication 
Historique des Institutes de I'Empereur Justinien ; Phillimore, Intro- 
duction to the Study and History of Roman Law ; Pothier, Pandectae 
JustinianaB in Novum Ordinem Digestae ; Savigny, Geschichte des Rom. 
Rechts ; Walter, Histoire de la Procedure Civile Chez Romains. 

I have found the late work of Lord Mackenzie, on Roman Law, 
together with the articles of George Long, in Smith's Dictionary, the 
most useful in compiling this notice of Roman jurisprudence. Mr. 
Maine's Treatise on Roman Law is exceedingly interesting and valua- 
ble. Gibbon's famous chapter should also be read by every student. 
There is a fine translation of the Institutes of Justinian, which is quite 
accessible, by Dr. Harris of Oxford. The Code, Pandects, Institutes, 
and Novels, are, of course, the original authority, with the long-lost 
Institutes of Gains. 

In connection with the study of the Roman law, it would be well to 
read Sir George Bowyer's Commentaries on the Modern Civil Law ; 
Irving, Introduction to the Study of the Civil Law ; Lindley, Intro- 
duction to the Study of Jurisprudence ; and Wheaton's Elements of 
International Law ; Vattel, Le Droit des Gens. 



CHAPTER VII. 



ROMAN LITERATURE. 



If the ancient civilization rivaled the modern in the 
realm of art^ it was equally remarkable in the field of let- 
ters. It is not my object to show that it was equal, or 
superior, or inferior to modern literature, either in original 
genius or artistic excellence. That point would be diffi- 
cult to settle, and unprofitable to discuss. There is no 
doubt as to the superior advantage which the modern world 
derives in consequence of the invention of printing, and 
the consequent diffusion of knowledge. But the question 
is in reference to the height which was attained by the an- 
cient pagan intellect, unaided by Christianity. I simply 
wish to show that the ancients were distinguished in all 
departments of literature, and that some of the master- 
pieces of genius were created by them. 

Nor is it my object to write a summary of the literature 
of antiquity. It would be as dull as a catalogue, or a dic- 
tionary, or a compendium of universal history for the use 
of schools in a single volume. And it would be as profit- 
less. My aim is simply to show that the old civilization 
can boast of its glories in literature, as well as in art, and 
that the mind of man never more nobly asserted its power 
than in Greece and Rome. Our present civilization de- 
lio-hts in those philosophers, poets, and historians, who 
caught their inspiration from the great pagan models which 
have survived the wreck of material greatness. The hu- 
man intellect achieved some of its greatest feats before 
Christianity was born. The inborn dignity of the mind 
and soul was never more nobly asserted than by Plato and 



Chap. VII.] Romans borrow from the Greeks. 263 

Aristotle, by Thucydides and Tacitus, by Homer and Vir- 
gil, by Demosthenes and Cicero. In attestation, therefore, 
of the glory of the ancient civilization, in the realm of lit- 
erature, it is quite sufficient for our purpose to point out 
some of those great lights which, after the lapse of two 
thousand years or more, still continue to shine, and which 
are objects of hopeless imitation, even as they are of uni- 
versal admiration. If we can show that the great heights 
were reached, even by a few, ^ve prove the extent of civil- 
ization. If genius can soar, under Pagan, as well as un- 
.der Christian influences, it would appear that civilization, 
in an intellectual point of view, may be the work of man, 
unaided by inspiration. It is the triumph of the native 
intellect of man which I wish to show. 

Although it is my chief aim to present the magnificent 
civilization of the Roman empire under the em- Romans bor- 

-p . , 1 p /-I • ^^^ from the 

perors, I must cite the examples or (jrrecian as Greeks. 
well as Roman genius, since Greece became a part of that 
grand empire, and since Grecian and Roman culture is 
mixed up and blended together. Roman youth were 
trained in the Grecian schools. Young men were sent to 
Athens and Rhodes after they had finished their education 
in the capital. Athens continued to be, for several hun- 
dred years after her political glory had passed aAvay, the 
great university city of the world. Educated Romans 
were as familiar with the Greek classics as they were with 
those of their own country, and could talk Greek as mod- 
ern Germans can talk French. The poems which kindled 
the enthusiasm of Roman youth are as worthy of notice as 
the statues which the conquerors brought from the Ionian 
cities, to ornament their palaces and baths. They equally 
attest the richness of the old civilization. And as it is the 
triumph of the pagan intellect which I wish to show, it 
matters but little whether we draw our illustrations from 
Greece or Rome. Without the aid of Greece, Rome could 
never have reached the height she attained. 



264 Roman Literature, [Chap, vil. 

Now how rich in poetry was classical antiquity, whether 
Richness of suno" in the Greek or Latin lano-uaiies. In all 

Greek . . . .... 

poetry. thoso qualities which give immortality, it has 

never been surpassed, whether in simplicity, in passion, in 
fervor, in fidelity to nature, in wit, or in imagination. It 
existed from the early ages, and continued to within a 
brief period of the fall of the empire. With the rich ac- 
cumulation of ages, the Romans were familiar. They 
knew nothing indeed of the solitary grandeur of the Jew- 
ish muse, or the mythological myths of the Ante-Homeric 
songsters ; but they possessed the Iliad and the Odyssey,- 
with their wonderful truthfulness, and clear portraiture of 
character, their absence of all affectation, their serenity 
and cheerfulness, their good sense and healthfid sentiments, 
yet so original that the germ of almost every character 
which has since figured in epic poetry can be found in 
them. We see in Homer ^ a poet of the first class, hold- 
Thenomeric ^'^g ^^^® Same place in literature that Plato does 
poems. j^^ philosophy, or Newton in science, and exercis- 

ing a mighty influence on all the ages which have suc- 
ceeded him. For nearly three thousand years his immor- 
tal creations have been the deliglit and the inspiration of 
men of genius, and they are as marvelous to us as they 
were to the Athenians, since they are exponents of the 
learning, as well as of the consecrated sentiments of the 
heroic ages. We see no pomp of words, no far-fetched 
thoughts, no theatrical turgidity, no ambitious speculations, 
no indefinite longings ; but we read the manners and 
customs of the primitive nations, and lessons of moral 
wisdom and human nature as it is, and the sights and 
wonders of the external world, all narrated with singu- 
lar simjjlicity, yet marvelous artistic skill. We find ac- 
curacy, delicacy, naturalness, yet grandeur, sentiment, 
and beauty, such as Pheidias represented in his statues of 

1 Born probably at Smyrna, an Ionian city, about one hundred and fifty years 
alter the Trojau War. 



Chap. VII.] Greek Lyrical Poetry. 265 

Jupiter. No poems have ever been more popular, and 
none have extorted greater admiration from critics. Like 
Shakespeare, Homer is a kind of Bible to both the learned 
and unlearned among all people and ages — one of the 
prodigies of this world. His poems form the basis of 
Greek literature, and are the best understood and the 
most widely popular of all Grecian composition. The 
unconscious simplicity of the Homeric narrative, its vivid 
pictures, its graphic details and religious spirit, create 
an enthusiasm such as few works of genius can claim. 
Moreover, it prese.nts a painting of society, with its sim- 
plicity and ferocity, its good and evil passions, its compas- 
sion and its fierceness, such as no other poem affords.^ Nor 
is it necessary to speak of any other Grecian epic, when 
the Iliad and the Odyssey attest the perfection which was 
attained one hundred and twenty years before Hesiod was 
born. Grote thinks that the Iliad and the Odyssey were 
produced at some period between 850 b. c, and 776 b. c. 

In l^^rical poetry the Greeks were no less remarkable, 
and indeed they attained to absolute perfection, owing to 
the intimate connection between poetry and music. Who 
has surpassed Pindar in artistic skill ? His tri- 
umphal odes are paeans, in which piety breaks 
out in expressions of the deepest awe, and the most ele- 
vated sentiments of moral wisdom. They alone of all his 
writings have descended to us, but all possess fragments of 
odes, songs, dirges, and panegyrics, which show the great 
excellence to which he attained. He was so celebrated 
that he was employed by the different states and princes 
of Greece to compose choral songs for special occasions, es- 
pecially the public games. Although a Theban, he was 

1 The Homeric poems have been translated into nearly all the European lan- 
guages, and several times into English. The last translation is b}' the Earl of 
Derby — a most remarkable work. Guizot, Cours d^Hist. Mod., Lecon 7me; 
Grote, vol. ii. p. 277 ; Studies in Homer, by Hon. W. E. Gladstone ; Mure, Crit- 
ical Hist, of Lang, and Lit. of Greece; Miiller, Hist, of the Lit. of Ancient Greece^ 
translated by Donaldson. 



266 Roman Literature, [Chap. vii. 

held in the hIo:hest estimation by the Athenians, and was 
courted by kings and princes.^ We possess, also, fragments 
of Sappho, Simonides, Anacreon, and others, enough to 
show that, could the lyrical poetry of Greece be recovered, 
we should probably possess the richest collection that the 
world has produced. 

But dramatic poetry was still more varied and remarka- 
Greekdra- blc. Eveu tlic p^rcat masterpieccs of Sophocles 

matic . ^ 11, . 

poetry. and JliUripides, were regarded by contemporaries 

as inferior to many tragedies utterly unknown to us. The 

great creator of the Greek drama was JEscliylus, 

.ffischylus. ~^ .^,.^-,_ --- •111 

born at Edeusis, o2o b. c. it was not till the 
age of forty-one that he gained his first prize. Sixteen 
years afterwards, defeated by Sophocles, he quitted Athens 
in disgust, and went to the court of Hiero, king of Syra- 
cuse. But he was always held, even at Athens, in the 
highest honor, and his pieces were frequently reproduced 
upon the stage. It was not so much his object to amuse 
an audience, as to instruct and elevate it. He combined 
religious feeling with lofty moral sentiment. And he had 
unrivaled power over the realm of astonishment and ter- 
ror. " At his summons," says Sir Walter Scott, " the 
mysterious and tremendous volume of destiny, in which is 
inscribed the doom of gods and men, seemed to display its 
leaves of iron before the appalled spectators ; the more 
than mortal voices of Deities, Titans, and departed heroes, 
were heard in awful conference ; heaven bowed, and its 
divinities descended ; earth yawned and gave up the pale 
spectres of the dead, and yet more undefined and ghastly 
forms of those infernal deities who struck horror into the 
oods themselves." His imaoination dwells in the loftiest 
regions of the old mythology of Greece ; his tone is always 
})ure and moral, though stern and harsh. He ap})eals to 
the most violent passions, and he is full of the boldest 

1 Bom in Thebes 522 B. c, and died probably in his eightieth year, and was 
contemporary with ^schylus and the battle of Marathon. 



Chap. VII.] SophocleS. 267 

metaphors. In sublimity he has never been surpassed. 
He was in poetry, what Pheidias and Michael Angelo were 
in art. The critics say that his sublimity of diction is 
sometimes carried to an extreme, so that his language be- 
comes inflated. His characters are sublime, like his senti- 
ments ; they were gods and heroes of colossal magnitude. 
His religious views were Homeric, and he sought to ani- 
mate his countrymen to deeds of glory, as it became one 
of the £!:enerals who fouo-ht at Marathon to do. He was an 
unconscious genius, and worked, like Homer, without a 
knowledge of artistical laws. He was proud and impatient, 
and his poetry was religious rather than moral. He wrote 
seventy plays, of which only seven are extant ; but these 
are immortal, among the greatest creations of human 
genius, like the dramas of Shakespeare. He died in Sicily 
in the sixty-ninth year of his age. The principal English 
translation of his plays are by Potter, Harford, and Med- 
win.^ 

The fame of Sophocles is scarcely less than that of 
JEschylus. He was twenty-seven vears of age 

11 A • 1 U "^ 1 ^ Sophocles. 

when he appeared as a rival. He was born in 
Colonus, in the suburbs of Athens, 495 B. c, and w^as the 
contemporary of Herodotus, of Pericles, of Pindar, of 
Pheidias, of Socrates, of Cimon, of Euripides — the era 
of great men ; the period of the Peloponnesian War, when 
every thing that was elegant and intellectual culminated at 
Athens. Sophocles had every element of character and 
person which fascinated the Greeks ; beauty of person, 
symmetry of form, skill in gymnastics, calmness and dig- 
nity of manner, a cheerful and amiable temper, a ready 
wit, a meditative piety, a spontaneity of genius, an affec- 
tionate admiration for talent, and patriotic devotion to his 
country. His tragedies, by the universal consent of the 
best critics, are the perfection of the Grecian drama, and 
they, moreover, maintain that he has no rival, Shakespeare 

1 See Miiller and Bode, histories of Greek Literature. 



268 Roman Literature, [Chap. vn. 

alone excepted, in the whole realm of dramatic poetry, un- 
less it be -^schylus himself, to whom he bears the same 
relation in poetry that Raphael does to Michael Angelo in 
the world of art. It was his peculiarity to excite emotions 
of sorrow and compassion. He loved to paint forlorn heroes. 
He was human in all his sympathies, not so religious as 
his great rival, but as severely ethical ; not so subHme, but 
more perfect in art. His sufferers are not the victims of 
an inexorable destiny, but of their own follies. Nor does 
he even excite emotion apart from a moral end. He lived 
to be ninety years old, and produced the most beautiful of 
his tragedies in his eightieth year, the " CEdipus at Co- 
lonus." He wrote the astonishing number of one hundred 
and thirty plays, and carried off the first prize twenty-four 
times. His " Antigone " was written when he was forty- 
five, and when Euripides had already gained a prize. Only 
seven of his tragedies have survived, but these are price- 
less treasures. The fertility of his genius was only equaled 
by his artistic skill. ^ 

Euripides, the last of the great triumvirate of the Greek 
tragic poets, was born at Athens, b. c. 485. He 
had not the sublimity of jEschylus, nor the touch- 
ing pathos of Sophocles, but, in seductive beauty and suc- 
cessful appeal to passion, was superior to both. Nor had 
he their stern simplicity. In his tragedies the passion of 
love predominates, nor does it breathe the purity of senti- 
ment. It approaches rather to the tone of the modern 
drama. He paints the weakness and corruptions of society, 
and brings his subjects to the level of common life. He was 
the pet of the Sophists, and was pantheistic in his views. 
He does not paint ideal excellence, and his characters are 
not as men ought to be, but as they are, especially in cor- 
rupt states of society. He wrote ninety-five plays, of 
which eighteen are extant. Whatever objection may be 

1 Schlegcl, Lectures on Dramatic Art; Miiller, Hist. Lit. ; Donaldson's An- 
tigone; Lessing, Ltben des Sophokks; Philip Smith, article in Smith's Diet. 



Chap. VII.] Greek Comedy. 269 

urged in reference to his dramas on the score of morality, 
nobody can question their transcendent art, or his great 
originality. With the exception of Shakespeare, all suc- 
ceeding dramatists have copied these three great poets, 
especially Racine, who took Sophocles for his model.^ 

The Greeks were no less distinguished for comedy. Both 
tragedy and comedy sprung from feasts in honor q^^^-^ 
of Baccluis ; and as the jests and frolics were ^^^^'^y- 
found misplaced when introduced into grave scenes, a sep- 
arate province of the drama was formed, and comedy arose. 
At first it did not derogate from the religious purposes 
which were at the foundation of the Greek drama. It 
turned upon parodies, in which the adventures of the gods 
are introduced by way of sport, like the appetite of Her- 
cules, or the cowardice of Bacchus. Then the comic 
authors entertained spectators by fantastic and gross dis- 
plays ; by the exhibition of buffoons and pantomimes. 
But the taste of the Athenians was too severe to relish 
such entertainments, and comedy passed into ridicule of 
public men and measures, and of the fashions of the day. 
The people loved to see their great men brought down to 
their own level. Nor did comedy flourish until the morals 
of society were degenerated, and ridicule had become the 
most effective weapon to assail prevailing follies. Comedy 
reached its culminating point when society was both the 
most corrupt and the most intellectual, as in France, when 
Moliere pointed his envenomed shafts against popular vices. 
It pertained to the age of Socrates and the Sophists, when 
there was great bitterness in political parties, and an irre- 
pressible desire for novelties. In Cratinus, comedy first 
made herself felt as a great power, who espoused the side 
of Cimon against Pericles, with great bitterness and ve- 
hemence. Many were the comic writers of that age of 
wickedness and genius, but all yielded precedence to 

1 Miiller, Schlegel. Sir "Walter Scott on the Drama; Grote, vol. viii. p. 442, 
Thome, Mag. Vita. Eurip. Potter has made a translation of all his plays. 



270 Roman Literature. [Chap. vii. 

Aristophanes, whose plays only have reached us. Never 
Aristoph- were libels on persons of authority and influence 
'^^^^^ uttered with such terrible license. He attacked 

the gods, the politicians, the philosophers, and the poets of 
xVthens ; even private citizens did not escape from his 
shafts, and women were subjects of his irony. Socrates 
was made the butt of his ridicule, when most revered, and 
Cleon in the height of his power, and Euripides wlien he 
had gained the highest prizes. He has furnished jests for 
Kabelais, and hints to Swift, and humor for Molidre. In 
satire, in derision, in invective, and bitter scorn, he has 
never been surpassed. No modern capital would tolerate 
such unbounded license. Yet no plays were ever more 
popular, or more fully exposed follies which could not other- 
wise be reached. He is called the Father of Comedy, and 
his comedies are of great historical importance, although 
his descriptions are doubtless caricatures. He was patri- 
otic in his intentions, and set up for a reformer. His 
peculiar genius shines out in his " Clouds," the greatest of 
his pieces, in which he attacks the Sophists. He Avrote 
fifty-four plays. He was born B. c. 444, and died b. c. 
380. His best comedies are translated by Mitchell. 

Thus it would appear that in the three great depart- 
ments of poetry, — the epic, the lyric, and the dramatic, — 
the old Greeks were great masters, and have been the 
teachers of all subsequent nations and ages. 

The Romans, in these departments, were not their equals, 
but they were very successful copyists, and will bear com- 
petition with modern nations. If the Romans did not pro- 
duce a Homer, they can boast of a Virgil ; if they had no 
Pindar, they furnished a Horace, while in satire they tran- 
scended the Greeks. 

The Romans, however, produced no poetry worthy of 
notice until the Greek language and literature were intro- 
duced. It was not till the fall of Tarentum that we read 
of a Roman poet. Livius Andronicus, a Greek slave, 



Chap. VIL] Roman Epic Poetry. 273 

gards as the most polished, elegant, and chaste of all the 
poets of the newer comedy. Unlike Plautus, he draws his 
characters from good society, and his comedies, if not moral, 
were decent. Plautus wrote for the multitude ; Terence 
for the few. Plautus delighted in a noisy dialogue and slang 
expressions ; Terence confines himself to quiet conversa- 
tion and elegant expressions, for which he was admired by 
Cicero and Quintilian, and other great critics. He aspired 
to the approval of the good, rather than the applause of 
the vulgar ; and it is a remarkable fact that his comedies 
supplanted the more original productions of Plautus in the 
latter years of the republic, showing that the literature of 
the aristocracy was more prized than that of the people, 
even in a degenerate age. The " Thyestes " ^ of Varius, 
was regarded in its day as equal to Greek tragedies. Ennius 
composed tragedies in a vigorous style, and was regarded by 
the Romans as the parent of their literature, although most 
of his works have perished.^ Virgil borrowed many of 
his thoughts, and he was regarded as the prince of Roman 
song in the time of Cicero. The Latin language is greatly 
indebted to him. Pacuvius imitated .zEschylus in the lofti- 
ness of his style.^ The only tragedy of the Romans which 
has reached us was written by Seneca the philosopher. 

In epic poetry the Romans accomplished more, though 
still inferior to the Greeks. The "jEneid " has 
certainly survived the material glories of Rome. 
It may not have come up to the exalted ideal of its author ; 
it may be defaced by political flatteries ; it may not have 
the force and originality of the " Iliad," but it is superior 
in art, and delineates the passion of love with more deli- 
cacy than can be found in any Greek author. In soundness 
of judgment, in tenderness of feeling, in chastened fancy, 
in picturesque description, in delineation of character, in 
matchless beauty of diction, and in splendor of versifica- 
tion, it has never been surpassed by any poem in any lan- 

l Hon, Sat. i. 9; Martial, viii. 18. 2 Bom b. c. 239. 3 Born b. c. 170. 
18 



274 Roman Literature, [Chap. yii. 

guage, and proudly takes its place among the imperishable 
works of genius. " Availing himself of the pride and 
superstition of the Roman people, the poet traces the origin 
and establishment of the ' Eternal City,' to those heroes 
and actions which had enough in them of what was human 
and ordinary to excite the sympathies of his coun- 

V Virgil. . . . *' 

try men, intermingled with persons and circum- 
stances of an extraordinary and superhuman character to 
awaken their admiration and awe. No subject could have 
been more happily chosen. It has been admired also for 
its perfect unity of action ; for while the episodes command 
the richest variety of description, they are always subordi- 
nate to the main object of the poem, which is to impress 
the divine authority under which JEneas first settled in 
Italy. The wrath of Juno, upon which tlie vvdiole fate of 
JEneas seems to turn, is at once that of a woman and a god- 
dess ; the passion of Dido, and her general character, bring 
us nearer to the present world ; but the poet is continually 
introducing higher and more effectual influences, until, by 
the intervention of gods and men, the Trojan name is to 
be continued in the Roman, and thus heaven and earth are 
\ appeased." ^ No one work of man has probably had such 
a wide and profound influence as this poem of Virgil, — 
a text-book in all schools since the revival of learnino;, the 
model of the Carlovingian poets, the guide of Dante, the 
oracle of Tasso.^ 

V In lyrical poetry, the Romans can boast of one of the 
greatest masters of any age or nation. The Odes 
of Horace have never been transcended, and will 

probably remain through all the ages, the delight of schol- 
ars. They may not have the deep religious sentiment, and 

1 Thompson, Hist. Rom. Lit., p. 92. 

2 Virgil was born seventy years before Christ, and was seven years older than 
Augustus. His parentage was humble, but his facilities of education were great. 
He was a most fortunate man, enjoying the friendship of Augustus and IMicoenas, 
fame in his own lifetime, leisure to prosecute his studies, and ample rewards for 
his labors. He died at Brundusium at the age of fifty. 



Horace. 



Chap. VII.] Eorace. 275 

the unity of imagination and passion which belong to the 
Greek lyrical poets, but as works of art, of exquisite felic- 
ity of expression, of agreeable images, they are unrivaled. 
Even in the time of Juvenal, his poems were the common 
school books of Roman youth. Horace, like Virgil, was 
a favored man, enjoying the friendship of the great with 
ease, fame, and fortune. But his longings for retirement, 
and his discrust at the frivolities around him, are a sad 
commentary on satisfied desires.^ His odes compose but a 
small part of his writings. His epistles are the most per- 
fect of his productions, and rank with the Georgics of Virgil 
and the satires of Juvenal, as the most perfect form of 
Roman verse. His satires are also admirable, but without 
the fierce vehemence and lofty indignation that character- 
ized Juvenal. It is the folly rather than the wickedness 
of vice which he describes with such playful skill and such 
keenness of observation. He was the first to mould the 
Latin tongue to the Greek lyric measures. Quintilian's 
criticism is indorsed by all scholars. " Lyricorum Sora- 
tiusfere solus legi dignus, in verbis felicissime audax^ No 
poetry was ever more severely elaborated than that of 
Horace, and the melody of the language imparts to it a 
peculiar fascination. If inferior to Pindar in passion and 
loftiness, it glows with a more genial humanity, and with 
purer wit. It cannot be enjoyed fully, except by those 
versed in the experiences of life. Such perceive a calm 
wisdom, a penetrating sagacity, a sober enthusiasm, and a 
refined taste, which are unusual even among the masters of 
human thought. It is the fashion to depreciate the original 
merits of this poet, as well as those of Virgil and Plautus 
and Terence, because they derived so much assistance from 
the Greeks. But the Greeks borrowed from each other. 
Pure originality is impossible. It is the mission of art to add 
to its stores, without hoping to monopolize the w^hole realm. 

1 Bom B. c. 65. The best translation of his works is by Francis; but Horace 
U untranslatable. 



276 Roman Literature, [Chap. vn. 

Even Shakespeare, the most original of modern poets, was 

vastly indebted to those who went before him, and even he 

has not escaped the hypercriticism of minute observers. 

In this allusion to lyrical poetry, I have not spoken of 

Catullus, unrivaled in tender lyric, and the 

Catullua. 1 p 1 A ./ ' 

greatest poet before the Augustan era. He was 
born B. c. 87, and enjoyed the friendship of the most cele- 
brated characters. One hundred and sixteen of his poems 
have come down to us, most of which are short, and many 
of them defiled by great coarseness and sensuality. Critics 
say, however, that whatever he touched he adorned ; that 
his vigorous simplicity, pungent wit, startling invective, and 
felicity of expression, make him one of the great poets of 
the Latin language. 

In didactic poetry, Lucretius was preeminent, and is 

regarded by Schlegel as the first of Roman poets 

Lucretius. . . •iTTTiir' ia 

m native gemus.^ He lived before tlie Augustan 
era, and died at the age of forty-two by his own hand. His 
great poem " De Rerum Natura," is a delineation of the 
epicurean philosophy, and treats of all the great subjects 
of thought with which his age is conversant. It somewhat 
resembles Pope's " Essay on Man," in style and subject, 
but immeasurably superior in poetical genius. It is a 
lengthened disquisition, in seven thousand four hundred 
lines, of the great phenomena of the outward world. As a 
painter and worshiper of nature, he was superior to all the 
poets of antiquity. His skill in presenting abstruse specu- 
lations is marvelous, and his outbursts of poetic genius are 
matchless in power and beauty. Into all subjects he casts 
a fearless eye, and writes with sustained enthusiasm. But 
he was not fully appreciated by his countrymen, although 
no other poet has so fully brought out the power of the 
Latin language. Professor Ramsay,^ while alluding to the 

' 1 Born B. c. 95, died b. c. 52. Smith's Diet. 

2 The translation of Lucretius into English was made by I. M. Goode, Eveljra, 
and Drummond. 



Chap, vil] Roman Elegiac Poets, 277 

melancholy tenderness of Tibullus, the exquisite ingenuity 
of Ovid, the inimitable felicity and taste of Horace, the 
gentleness and splendor of Virgil, and the vehement dec- 
lamation of Juvenal, thinks that, had the verses of Lucre- 
tius perished, we should never have known that it could 
give utterance to the grandest conceptions with all that self- 
sustained majesty and harmonious swell, in which the Gre- 
cian muse rolls forth her loftiest outpourings. The eulo- 
gium of Ovid is — 

" Carmina sublimis tunc sunt peritura Lucreti, 
Exitio terras quum dabit una dies." 

Elegiac poetry has an honorable place in Roman litera- 
ture. To this school belongs Ovid,^ whose "Meta- 
morphoses " will always retain their interest. He, 
with that self-conscious genius common to poets, declares 
that his poem would be proof against sword, fire, thunder, 
and time, — a prediction, says Bayle,^ which has not yet 
proved false. Niebuhr^ thinks that, next to Catullus, he 
was the most poetical of his countrymen. Milton thinks 
he could have surpassed Virgil had he attempted epic 
poetry. He was nearest to the romantic school of all the 
classical authors, and Chaucer, Ariosto, and Spenser owe to 
him great obligations. Like Pope, his verses flowed spon- 
taneously. His " Tristia " were more admired by the Ro- 
mans than his " Amores " or " Metamorphoses," — probably 
from the doleful description of his exile, — a fact which shows 
that contemporaries are not always the best judges of real 
merit. His poems, great as was their genius, are deficient 
in the severe taste which marked the Greeks, and are im- 
moral in their tendency. He had great advantages, but 
was banished by Augustus for his description of licentious 
love, " Carmina per libidinosa." Nor did he support exile 
with dignity. He died of a broken heart, and languished, 
like Cicero, when doomed to a similar fate. But few intel- 

1 Born B. c. 43. Died A. D. 18. 2 Bayle, Diet. 

3 LecL, vol. ii,. p. 166. 



278 Roman Literature, [Chap. vil. 

lectiial men have ever been able to live at a distance from 
the scene of their glories, and without the stimulus of high 
society. Chrjsostom is one of the few exceptions. Ovid, 
as an immoral man, was justly punished. 

Tibullus was also a famous elegiac poet, and was born 
the same vear as Ovid, and was the friend of 

TibuUuS. TT T 1 • • 1 11 

Horace. He lived m retn'ement, and was both 
gentle and amiable. At his beautiful country seat he 
soothed his soul with the charms of literature and the simple 
pleasures of the country. Niebuhr pronounces his elegies 
doleful,^ but Merivale ^ thinks that " the tone of tender 
melancholy in which he sung his unprosperous loves had a 
deeper and purer source than the caprices of three incon- 
stant paramours." " His spirit is eminently religious, tliough 
it bids liim fold his hands in resignation rather than open 
them in hope. He alone of all the great poets of his day 
remained undazzled by the glitter of the Caesarian usurpa- 
tion, and pined away in unavailing despondency, in behold- 
ing the subjugation of his country." 

His contemporary, Propertius,^ was, on the contrary, the 
most eager of all the flatterers of Augustus, — a 

Propertius. n • ii i ^ > n • ^ ^ 

man ot Avit and pleasure, whose object ot idolatry 
was Cynthia, a poetess and a courtesan. He was an 
imitator of the Greeks, but had a great contemporary 
fame,* and shows great warmth of passion, but he never 
soared into the sublime heiglits of poetry, like his rival. 
Such were among the great elegiac poets of Rome, generally 
devoted to the delineation of tlie passion of love. The 
older English poets resembled them in this respect, but 
none of them have soared to such lofty heights as the later 
ones, like Wordsworth and Tennyson. It is in lyric poetry 
that the moderns have chiefly excelled the ancients, in 
variety, in elevation of sentiment, and in imagination. 

1 Lect., vol. iii. p. 143. 2 Hist, vol. iv. p. 602. 

8 Born B. c. 51. •* Quint, x. 1. § 93. 



Chap, vil] Roman Satirical Poetry. 279 

The grandeur and originality of the ancients were dis- 
played rather in epic and dramatic poetry. 

In satire the Romans transcended both the Greeks and 
the moderns. There is notliing in any language 

,., iir» !• • *^iii- Juvenal. 

which equals the nre, the intensity, and the bit- 
terness of Juvenal, — not even Swift and Pope. But he 
flourished in the decline of literature, and has neither 
the taste nor eleo-ance of the Auo-ustan writers. He was 
the son of a freedman, and was born a. d. 38, and was the 
contemporary of Martial. He was banished by Domitian 
on account of a lampoon against a favorite dancer, but 
under the reign of Nerva he returned to Rome, and the 
imperial tyranny was the subject of his bitterest denun- 
ciation, next to the degradation of public morals. His 
great rival in satire was Horace, who laughed at follies ; 
but he, more austere, exaggerated and denounced them. 
His sarcasms on women have never been equaled in sever- 
ity, and we cannot but hope that they were unjust. In an 
historical point of view, as a delineation of the manners of 
his age, his satires are priceless, even like the epigrams of 
Martial. Satire arose with Lucllius,^ in the time of Marius, 
an age when freedom of speech was tolerated. Horace was 
the first to gain immortality in this department. 
Persius comes next, born a. d. 34, the friend of 
Lucan and Seneca in the time of Nero ; and he painted 
the vices of his age when it was passing to that degrada- 
tion which marked the reign of Domitian when Juvenal 
appeared, who, disdaining fear, boldly set forth the abom- 
inations of the times, and struck without distinction all 
who departed from duty and conscience. This uncom- 
promising poet, not pliant and easy like Horace, animad- 
verted, like an incorruptible censor, on the vices which 
were undermining the moral health and preparing the way 
for violence ; on the hypocrisy of philosophers and the 
cruelty of tyrants ; on the weakness of women and the de- • 

1 Born B. c. 148. 



280 Roman Literature* [Chap, vil- 

bauchery ot men. He discourses on the vanity of human 
wishes with the moral wisdom of Dr. Jolmson, and urges 
self-improvement like Socrates and Epictetus.^ 

I might speak of other celebrated poets, — of Lucan, of 
Martial, of Petronius ; but I only wish to show that the 
great poets of antiquity, both Greek and Roman, have 
never been surpassed in genius, in taste, and in art, and few 
were ever more honored in their lifetime by appreciating ad- 
mirers showino; the advanced state of civilization which was 
reached in every thing pertaining to the realm of thought. 

But the genius of the ancients was displayed in prose 
composition as well as in poetry, although perfection was 
not so soon attained. The poets were the great creators 
of the languages of antiquity. It was not until they had 
produced their immortal works that the languages were 
sufficiently softened and refined to admit of great beauty 
in prose. But prose requires art as well as poetry. There 
is an artistic rhythm in the writings of the classical au- 
thors, like those of Cicero and Herodotus and Thucydides, 
as marked as in the beautiful measure of Homer and Viro-il. 
Burke and Macaulay are as great artists in style as Ten- 
nyson himself. Plato did not write poetry, but his prose is 
as " musical as Apollo's lyre." And it is seldom that men, 
either in ancient or modern times, have been distinguished 
for both kinds of composition, although Voltaire, Schiller, 
Milton, Swift, and Scott are among the exceptions. Cicero, 
the greatest prose writer of antiquity, produced only an 
inferior poem, laughed at by his contemporaries. Bacon 
could not write poetry, with all his affluence of thought 
and vigor of imagination and command of language, any 
easier than Pope could write prose. 

All sorts of prose compositions were carried to perfection 
by both Greeks and Romans, in history, in criticism, in 
philosophy, in oratory, in epistles. 

1 The best translations of Juvenal are those of Dryden, Giflford, and Bad- 
ham. 



Chap. VII.] Jlerodotus. 281 

The earliest great prose writer among the Greeks was 
Herodotus,^ from which we may infer that History/ 
was the first form of prose composition which 
attained development. But Herodotus was not born until 
^schylus had gained a prize for tragedy, more than two 
hundred years after Simonides, the lyric poet, flourished, 
and probably six hundred years after Homer sung his im- 
mortal epics. After more than two thousand years the 
style of this great " Father of History " is admired by 
every critic ; while his history, as a work of art, is still a 
study and a marVel. It is difficult to understand why no 
anterior work in prose is worthy of note, since the Greeks 
had attained a high civilization two hundred years before 
he appeared, and the language had reached a high point 
of development under Homer for more than five hundred 
years. The history of Herodotus was probably written in 
the decline of life, when his mind was enriched with great 
attainments in all the varied learning of his age, and when 
he had conversed with most of the celebrated men of the 
various countries which he visited. It pertains chiefly to 
the wars of the Greeks with the Persians ; but, in his fre- 
quent episodes, which do not impair the unity of the work, 
he is led to speak of the manners and customs of the 
oriental nations. It was once the fashion to speak of 
Herodotus as a credulous man, who embodied the most 
improbable, though interesting stories. But now it is be- 
lieved that no historian was ever more profound, conscien- 
tious, and careful ; and all modern investigations confirm 
his sagacity and impartiality. He was one of the most 
accomplished men of antiquity, or of any age, — an en- 
lightened and curious traveler, a profound thinker, a man 
of universal knowledge, familiar with the whole rangfe 
of literature, art, and science in his day, acquainted with 
all the great men of Greece and at the courts of Asiatic 
princes, the friend of Sophocles, of Pericles, of Thucydides, 
of Aspasia, of Socrates, of Damon, of Zeno, of Pheidias, of 

1 Bom B. c. 484. 



282 Roman Literature. [Chap. vil. 

Protagoras, of Euripides, of Polygnotus, of Anaxagoras, of 
Xenophon, of Alcibiades, of Lysias, of Aristophanes, — the 
most brilliant constellation of men of genius who were ever 
found together within the w^alls of a Grecian city, respected 
and admired by these great lights, all of whom he tran- 
scended in knowledge. Thus was he fitted for his task by 
travel, by study, and by intercourse with the great, to say 
nothing of his original genius, and the greatest prose work 
which had yet appeared in Greece was produced, — a 
prose epic, severe in taste, perfect in unity, rich in moral 
wisdom, charming in style, religious In spirit, grand in sub- 
ject, without a coarse passage ; simple, unaffected, and 
beautiful, like the narratives of the Bible ; amusing, yet 
instructive, easy to understand, yet extending to the ut- 
most boundaries of human research — a model for all 
subsequent historians. So highly was it valued by the 
Athenians, when their city was at the height of its splen- 
dor, that they decreed to its author ten talents, about 
twelve thousand dollars, for reciting it. He even went 
from city to city, a sort of prose rhapsodlst, or like a 
modern lecturer, reciting his history — an honored and 
extraordinary man, a sort of Humboldt, having mastered 
every thing. And he wrote, not for fame, but to commu- 
nicate the results of his inquiries, from the pure love of 
truth which he learned by personal investigation at Dodona, 
at Delphi, at Samos, at Athens, at Corinth, at Thebes, at 
Tyre ; yea, he traveled into Egypt, Scythia, Asia Minor, 
Palestine, Babylonia, Italy, and the islands of the sea. His 
episode in Egypt is worth more, in an historical point of 
view, than every thing combined which has descended to 
us from antiquity. Herodotus was the first to give dignity 
to history ; nor, in truthfulness, candor, and impartiality, 
has he ever been surpassed. His very simplicity of style 
is a proof of his transcendent art, even as it is the evidence 
of his severity of taste.^ 

1 Dahlman has written an admirable life of Herodotus ; but Rawlinson's trans- 
lation, 'with his notes, is invaluable. 



Chap. VII.] Thucydides, — Xenophon, 283 

To Thucydides, as an historian, the modern world also 
avSsi2:ns a proud preeminence. He treated only 

(. , • 1 1 • 1 -r» 1 • Txr Thucydides. 

of a short period, dunng the Jreloponnesian War ; 
but the various facts connected with that great event could 
only be known by the most minute and careful inquiries. 
He devoted twenty-seven years to the composition of his 
narration, and he weighed his testimony with the most 
scrupulous care. His style has not the fascination of 
Herodotus, but it is more concise. In a single vohnne he 
relates what could scarcely be compressed into eight vol- 
umes of a modern history. As a work of art, of its kind, 
it is unrivaled. In his description of the plague of Athens 
he is minute as he is simple. He abounds with rich moral 
reflections, and has a keen perception of human character. 
His pictures are striking and tragic. He is vigorous and 
intense, and every w^ord he uses has a meaning. But 
some of his sentences are not always easily understood. 
One of the greatest tributes which can be paid to him is, 
that, according to the estimate of an able critic,^ we have 
a more exact history of a long and eventful period by 
Thucydides than we have of any period in modern history, 
equally long and eventful ; and all this is compressed into 
a volume.^ 

Xenophon is the last of the trio of the Greek historians, 
whose writings are classical and inimitable.^ He 

■■ • 1 1 • T • ^ ^ Xenophon. 

IS characterized by great simplicity and absence 
of affectation. His " Anabasis," in which he describes the 
expedition of the younger Cyrus and the retreat of the ten 
thousand Greeks, is his most famous book. But his " Cyro- 
paedia," in which the history of Cyrus is the subject, al- 
though still used as a classic in colleges for the beauty of 
the style, has no value as a history, since the author 
merely adopted the current stories of his hero without 

1 George Long, Oxford. 

2 Bora 471 b. c. ; lived twenty years in exile on account of a military failure. 
8 Born probably about 444 b. c. 



284 Roman Literature, [Chap. vii. 

sufficient investigation. Xenophon wrote a variety of 
treatises and dialogues, but his " Memorabilia" of Socrates 
is the most valuable. All antiquity and all modern writers 
unite in giving to Xenophon great merit as a writer, and 
great moral elevation as a man. 

If we pass from the Greek to the Latin historians, — to 
those who were as famous as the Greek, and whose merit 
has scarcely been transcended in our modern times, if, in- 
deed, it has been equaled, — the great names of Sallust, of 
Caesar, of Livy, of Tacitus, rise up before us, together with 
a host of other names we have not room or disposition to 
present, since we only aim to show that the ancients were 
at least our equals in this great department of prose com- 
position. The first great masters of the Greek language 
in prose were the historians, so far as their writings have 
descended, although it is probable that the orators may 
have shaped the language before them, and given it flex- 
ibility and refinement. The first great prose writers of 
Rome were the orators. Nor was the Latin language fully 
developed and polished until Cicero appeared. But we do 
not write a history of the language : we speak only of 
those who wrote immortal works in the various depart- 
ments of learning. 

As Herodotus did not arise until the Greek language 
had been already formed by the poets, so no great prose 
writer appeared among the Romans for a considerable time 
after Plautus, Terence, Ennius, and Lucretius flourished. 

The first great historian was Sallust, the contemporary 
of Cicero, born b. c. 86, the year that Marius 
died. Q. Fabius Pictor, M. Fortius Cato, L. Cal. 
Piso had already written works which are mentioned witli 
respect by the Latin authors, but they were mere annalists 
or antiquarians, like the chroniclers of the Middle Ages, 
and had no claim as artists. Sallust made Thucydidcs his 
model, but fell below him in genius and elevated senti- 
ment. He was born a plebeian, and rose to distinction by 



Chap. VII.] Roman Historians. 285 

his talents, but was ejected from the Senate for his profli- 
gacy. Afterwards he made a great fortune as praetor and 
governor of Numidia, and hved in magnificence on the 
Quirinal — one of the most profligate of the literary men 
of antiquity. We possess but a small portion of his works, 
but the fragments which have come down to us show 
peculiar merit. He sought to penetrate the human heart, 
and reveal the secret motives which actuate the conduct 
of men. His style is brilliant, but his art is always appar- 
ent. He is clear and lively, but rhetorical. Like Voltaire, 
who inaugurated modern history, he thought more of style 
than of accuracy of facts. He was a party man, and never 
soared beyond his party. He aped the moralist, but 
erected egotism and love of pleasure into proper springs of 
action, and honored talent disconnected with virtue. Like 
Carlyle, he exalted strong men, and because they were 
strong. He was not comprehensive like Cicero, or philo- 
sophical like Thucydides, although he affected philosophy as 
he did morality. He was the first who deviated from the 
strict narratives of events, and also introduced much rhetor- 
ical declamation, which he puts into the mouths of his 
heroes.^ He wrote for ^clat. 

Caesar, as an historian, ranks higher, and no Roman 
ever wrote purer Latin than he. But his histor- 
ical works, however great their merit, but feebly 
represent his transcendent genius — the most august name 
of antiquity. He was mathematician, architect, poet, phi- 
lologist, orator, jurist, general, statesman — imperator. In 
eloquence he was only second to Cicero. The great value 
of his history is in the sketches of the productions, the 
manners, the customs, and the political state of Gaul, 
Britain, and Germany. His observations on military sci- 
ence, on the operation of sieges, and construction of bridges 
and militar^^ engines, are valuable. But the description of 

1 The best translations of this author are those by Stewart, 1806, and Murphy, 
1807. 



286 Roman Literature. [Chap. vn. 

his military operations is only a studied apology for his 
crimes, even as the bulletins of Napoleon were set forth to 
show his victories in the most favorable liorht. His fame 
rests on hiis victories and successes as a statesman rather 
than on his merits as an historian, even as Louis Napoleon 
will live in history for his deeds rather than as the apolo- 
gist of C^esar.i The " Commentaries " resemble the his- 
tory of Herodotus more than any other Latin production, 
at least in style ; they are simple and unaffected, precise 
and elegant, plain and without pretension. 

Caesar was born b. c. 100, and while I admire his genius 
and his generosity, I hold in detestation the ambition which 
led him to overturn the constitution of his country on the 
plea of revolutionary necessity. It is true that there was 
the strife of parties and factions, greedy of revenge, and 
still more of spoils. It was a period of '•^ great offeyises^^^ 
but it was also the brightest period in Roman history, so 
far as pertains to the development of genius. It was more 
favorable to literature than the lauded "Augustan era." 
It w^as an age of free opinions, in which liberty gave 
her last sio-h, and when heroic efforts w^ere made to brincr 
back the ancient virtue, and to save the state from despot- 
ism. The lives of Piso, of Milo, of Cinna, of Lepidus, of 
Cotta, of Dolabella, of Crassus, of Quintus Maximus, of 
Aquila, of Pompey, of Brutus, of Cassius, of Antony, 
show what extraordinary men of action were then upon 
the stage, both good and evil, while Varro, Cicero, Catul- 
lus, Lucretius, and Sallust gave glory to the world of letters. 
It may have resulted favorably to the peace of society that 
the imperial rule supplanted the aristocratic regime, but it 
was a change fatal to liberty of speech and all independent 
action — a change, the good of which was on the outside, 
and in favor of material interests, but the evil of which 
was internal, and consumed secretly, but surely, the real 
greatness of the empire. 

1 See History of Ccesar, by Napoleon, a work more learned than popular, how- 
ever greatly he may be indebted to the labors of others. 



Chap. VII.] Roman Historians. 287 

The Augustan age, though it produced a constellation 
of poets who shed glory upon the throne before ^^^^^ ^^^. 
which they prostrated themselves in abject horn- p°^^^^'''^- 
ao-e, like the courtiers of Louis XIV., still was unfavorable 
to prose composition, — to history as well as eloquence. 
Of the historians, Livy, is the only one whose writings are 
known to us, and only fragments of his history.^ He was 
a man of distinction at court, and had a great literary repu- 
tation — so great that a Spaniard traveled from Cadiz on 
purpose to see him. Most of the great historians of the 
world have occupied places of honor and rank, which 
were given to them not as prizes for literary successes, 
but for the experience, knowledge, and culture High social 
which high social position and ample means historians. 
secured. Herodotus lived in courts ; Thucydides was a 
great general, also Xenophon ; Caesar wrote his own ex- 
ploits ; Sallust was praetor and governor ; Livy was tutor 
to Claudius ; Tacitus was prsetor and consul sufFectus ; 
Eusebius was bishop and favorite of Constantino ; Ammia- 
nus was the friend of the Emperor Julian ; Gregory of 
Tours was one of the leading prelates of tlie West ; Frois- 
sart attended in person, as a man of rank, the military ex- 
peditions of his day ; Clarendon was Lord Chancellor ; Bur- 
net was a bishop and favorite of William IH. ; Thiers and 
Guizot both were prime ministers ; while Gibbon, Hume, 
Robertson, Macaulay, Grote, Milman, Neander, Niebuhr, 
Miiller, Dahlman, Buckie, Prescott, Irving, Bancroft, Mot- 
ley, have all been men of wealth or position. Nor do I 
remember a single illustrious historian who has been poor 
and neglected. 

The ancients regarded Livy as the greatest of historians, 
— an opinion not indorsed by modern critics, on 

pi.. . -r* 1 • • • I-ivy. 

account or his inaccuracies. But his narrative is 
always interesting, and his language pure. He did not 
sift evidence like Grote, nor generalize like Gibbon ; but 

1 Born B. c. 59. 



288 Roman Literature. [Chap. vii. 

lie was, like Voltaire and Macaulay, an artist in style, and 
possessed undoubted genius. His annals are comprised in 
one hundred and forty-two books, extending from tlie foun- 
dation of the city to the death of Drusus, B. c. 9, of which 
only thirty-five have come down to us — an impressive 
commentary on the vandalism of the Middle Ages, and the 
ignorance of the monks who could not preserve so great a 
treasure. " His story flows in a calm, clear, sparkling cur- 
rent, with every charm which simplicity and ease can 
give." He delineates character with great clearness and 
power ; his speeches are noble rhetorical compositions ; his 
sentences are rhythmical cadences. He was not a critical 
historian, like Herodotus, for he took his materials second- 
hand, and he was ignorant of geography ; nor did he 
write with the exalted ideal of Thucydides, but as a 
painter of beautiful forms, which only a rich imagination 
could conjure, he is unrivaled in the history of literature. 
Moreover, he was honest and sound in heart, and was just 
and impartial in reference to those facts Avith which he was 
conversant. 

In the estimation of modern critics, the highest rank, as 
an historian, is assigned to Tacitus, and it would 
be difficult to find his rival in any age or coun- 
try. He was born a. d. 57, about forty-three years after 
the death of Augustus. He belonged to the equestrian 
rank, and was a man of consular dignity. He had every 
facility for literary labors that leisure, wealth, friends, and 
social position could give, and he lived under a reign when 
truth could be told. 

The extant works of this great writer are the " Life of 
Agricola," his father-in-law ; his " Annales," which com- 
mence with the death of Augustus, a. d. 14, and close 
with the death of Nero, A. D. 68 ; the " Historian," which 
comprise the period from the second consulate of Galba, 
A. D. 68, to the death of Domitian ; and a treatise on the 
Germans. 



Chap. VII.] Roman Historians. 289 

His histories describe Rome in the fullness of imperial 
glory, when the will of one man was the supreme Histories of 
law of the empire. He also wrote of events when ''^^"*"^- 
liberty had fled, and the yoke of despotism was nearly in- 
supportable. He describes a period of great moral degra- 
dation, nor does he hesitate to lift the veil of hypocrisy in 
which his generation had wrapped itself. He fearlessly 
exposes the cruelties and iniquities of the early emperors, 
and writes with judicial impartiality respecting all the great 
characters he describes. No ancient writer shows greater 
moral dignity and integrity of purpose than Tacitus. In 
point of artistic unity he is superior to Livy and equal to 
Thucydides, whom he resembles in conciseness of style. 
His distinguishing excellence as an historian is his sagacity 
and impartiality. Nothing escapes his penetrating eye ; 
and he inflicts merited chastisement on the tyrants who 
reveled in the prostrated liberties of his country, while he 
immortalizes those few wdio were faithful to duty and con- 
science in a degenerate age. But his waitings were not so 
popular as those of Livy. Neither princes nor people rel- 
ished his intellectual independence and moral elevation. 
He does not satisfy Dr. Arnold, who thinks he ought to 
have been better versed in the history of the Jews, and 
who dislikes his speeches because they were fictitious. 

Neither the Latin nor Greek historians are admired by 
those dry critics, who seek to give to rare anti- Qualities 

, ^ -1 . . ^ . which give 

quarian matter a disproportionate importance, immortauty 
and to make this matter as fixed and certain as torians. 
the truths of natural science. History can never be other 
than an approximation to the truth, even when it relates 
to the events and characters of our own age. History does 
not give positive knowledge which cannot be disputed ex- 
cept in general terms. We know that Caesar was ambi- 
tious, but we do not know whether he was more or less so 
than Pompey, nor do we know how far he was justified in 
his usurpation. A great history must have other merits 

19 



290 Roman Literature, [Chap. vii. 

than mere accuracy, or antiquarian research, or display of 
authorities and notes. It must be a work of art, and 
art has reference to style and language, to grouping of 
details and richness of illustration, to eloquence and poe- 
try and beauty. A dry history, if ever so learned, will 
never be read ; it will only be consulted, like a law- 
book, or Mosheim's " Commentaries." We wish life in 
history, and it is for the life that the writings of Livy and 
Tacitus will be perpetuated. Voltaire and Schiller have 
no great merit as historians, in a technical sense, but the 
" Life of Charles XII." and the " Thirty Years' War " 
are still classics. Neander has written one of the most 
searching and recondite histories of modern times, but it is 
too dry, too deficient in art, to be cherished, and may pass 
away, like the voluminous writings of Varro, the most 
learned of the Romans. It is the art which is immortal in 
a book, not the knowledge, or even the thoughts. What 
keeps alive the " Provincial Letters " ? It is the style, the 
irony, the elegance. It is the exquisite delineation of char- 
acter, the moral wisdom, the purity and force of language, 
the artistic arrangement, and the lively and interesting 
narratives, appealing to all minds, like the " Arabian 
Nights," or Froissart's " Chronicles," which give immor- 
tality to the classic authors of antiquity. We will not let 
them perish, because they amuse us, and inspire us. Livy 
doubtless was too ambitious in aspiring to write accurately 
the whole history of his country. He would have been 
wiser had he confined himself to a particular epoch, of 
which he was conversant, like Tacitus and Thucydides. 
But it is taking a narrow view of history to make all 
writers after the same pattern, even as it would be bigoted 
to make all Christians belong: to the same sect. Some will 
be remarkable for style, others for learning, and others 
again for moral and philosophical wisdom. Some will be 
minute, and others generalizing. Some dig out a multi- 
plicity of facts without apparent object, and others induce 



Chap. VII.] Superiority of Ancient Historians, 291 

from those facts. Some will make essays, and others 
chronicles. We have need of all styles and all kinds of 
excellence. A great and original thinker may not have 
the time or opportunity or taste for a minute and search- 
ing criticism of original authorities ; but he may be able 
to generalize previously established facts, so as to draw 
most valuable moral instruction. History is a boundless 
field of inquiry. No man can master it, in all its depart- 
ments and periods. What he gains in minute details, he 
is apt to lose in generalization. If he attempts to embody 
too much learning, he may be deficient in originality ; if 
he would say every thing, he is apt to be dry ; if he elabo- 
rates too much, he loses life. Society, too, requires differ- 
ent kinds and styles of history, — history for students, his- 
tory for ladies, histories for old men, histories for young 
men, histories to amuse, and histories to instruct. If ail 
men were to write history according to Dr. Arnold's views, 
then we should have histories of interest only to classical 
scholars. A fellow of Christ Church may demand author- 
ities, even if he never consults one of them, but a member 
of Congress may wish to see learning embodied in the text, 
and animated by genius, after the fashion of the ancient 
historians, who never quoted their sources of knowledge, 
and who were valued for the richness of thoughts and 
artistic beauty of style. The ages in which they flourished, 
attached no value to pedantic displays of labor, or evi- 
dences of learning paraded in foot-notes. 

Thus the great historians whom I have alluded to, both 
Greek and Latin, have feW equals and no supe- Greatness of 

. . . . , . 1 • 1 t^6 ancient 

riors, m our own times, m those tnmgs which are historians. 
most to be admired. They were not pedants, but men of 
immense genius and learning, who blended the profoundest 
principles of moral wisdom with the most fascinating nar- 
ratives, men universally popular among learned and un- 
learned, and men who were great artists in style, and 
masters of the language in which they wrote. We claim 



292 Roman Literature, [Chap. viL 

a superiority to them, because we are more recondite and 
critical ; but the decHne of Roman Hterature can be dated 
to times when commentaries became the fashion. We im- 
prove on commentaries. They are chiefly confined to bib- 
heal questions. We write dictionaries and encyclopedias. 
In this respect we are superior to the ancients. Our latest 
fashion of histories makes them very long, and very un- 
certain, containing much irrelevant matter, and more 
remarkable for learning than for genius, or elegance of 
diction. Yet Macaulay, Prescott, and Motley have few 
equals among the ancients in interest or artistic beauty. 
Rome can boast of no great historian after Tacitus, who 

should have belonged to the Ciceronian epoch. 

Suetonius, born about the year A. d. 70, shortly 
after Nero's death, was rather a biographer than historian. 
Nor as a biographer does he take a high rank. His " Lives 
of the Csesars," like Diogenes Laertius' " Lives of the Phil- 
osophers," are rather anecdotical than historical. L. A. 
Florus, who flourished during the reign of Trajan, has 
left a series of sketches of the different wars from the days 
of Romulus to those of Augustus. Frontinus epitomized 
Marcel- ^^^ large histories of Pompeius. Marcellinus 
hnus. wrote a history from Nerva to Yalens, and is 

often quoted by Gibbon. But none wrote who should be 
adduced as examples of the triumph of genius, except Sal- 
lust, Caesar, Livy, and Tacitus. 

There is another field of prose compositions in which the 
Ancient Grccks and Romans gained great distinction, and 
orators. provcd tlicmselvcs equal to any nation of modern 
times, and this was that of eloquence. It is true we have 
not a rich collection of ancient speeches. But we have 
every reason to believe that both Greeks and Romans 
were most severely trained in the art of public speaking, 
and that forensic eloquence was highly prized and munifi- 
cently rewarded. It commenced with democratic institu- 
tions, and flourished as long as the people were a great 



Chap. VII.] Ancient Orators. 293 

power in the state. It declined whenever and as soon as 
tyrants bore rule. Eloquence and liberty flourished to- 
gether ; nor can there be eloquence when there is not free- 
dom of debate. In the fifth century before Christ — the 
first century of democracy — great orators arose, for with- 
out the power and the opportunity of defending himself 
against accusation, no man could hold an ascendent posi- 
tion. Socrates insisted upon the gift of oratory to a general 
in the army,^ as well as to a leader in political life. In 
Athens the courts of justice were numerous, and those who 
could not defend themselves were obliged to secure the 
services of those who were trained in the use of public 
speaking. Thus the lawyers arose, among whom eloquence 
has been more in demand, and more richly paid j^j^cient 
than in any other class, certainly of ancient ^^oq"®"^®- 
times. Rhetoric became connected with dialectics, and in 
Greece, Sicily, and Italy, both were most extensively cul- 
tivated. Empedocles was distinguished as much for rhet- 
oric as for philosophy. It was not, however, in the courts 
of law that eloquence displayed the greatest fire and pas- 
sion, but in political assemblies. These could only coexist 
with liberty ; and a democracy was more favorable than 
an aristocracy to a large concourse of citizens. In the 
Grecian republics, eloquence as an art, may be said to have 
been born. It was nursed and fed by political agitations ; 
by the strife of parties. It arose from appeals to the peo- 
ple as a source of power ; and, when the people were not 
cultivated, it appealed chiefly to popular passions and 
prejudices. When they were enlightened, it appealed to 
interests. 

It was in Athens, where there existed the purest form 
of democratic institutions, that eloquence rose to the loftiest 
heights in the ancient world, so far as eloquence appeals to 
popular passions. Pericles, the greatest states- 
man of Greece, was celebrated for his eloquence, 

1 Xen. Mem.j iii. 3, 11. 



294 Roman Literature. [Chap. vii. 

although no specimens remain to us. It was conceded by 
the ancient authors, that his oratory was of the highest 
kind, and the epithet of Olympian was given him as carry- 
ing the weapons of Zeus upon his tongue.^ His voice was 
sweet, and his utterance distinct and rapid. Pisistratus 
was also famous for his eloquence, although he was a 
usurper and a tyrant. Isocrates ^ was a professed rhetori- 
cian, and endeavored to base it upon sound moral princi- 
ples, and rescue it from the influence of the Sophists. He 
was the great teacher of the most eminent statesmen of 
his day. Twenty-one of his orations have come down to 
us, and they are excessively polished and elaborated ; but 
they were written to be read ; they were not extemporary. 
His language is the purest and most refined Attic dialect. 
Lysias ^ was a fertile writer of orations also, and he is 
reputed to have produced as many as four hundred and 
twenty-five. Of these only thirty-five are extant. They 
are characterized by peculiar gracefulness and elegance, 
which did not interfere with strength. So able were these 
orations, that only two were unsuccessful. They were so 
pure that they were regarded as the best canon of the 
Attic idiom.* 

But all the orators of Greece — and Greece was the 
Demos- ^^^^ ^^ orators — gave way to Demosthenes, born 
thenes. ^ ^^ 2>^B. He rcccived a good education, and is 

said to have been instructed in philosophy by Plato, and in 
eloquence by Isocrates. But it is more probable that he 
privately prepared himself for his brilliant career. As soon 
as he attained his majority, he brought suits against the men 
whom his father had appointed his guardians for their waste 
of property, and was, after two years, successful, conduct- 
ing the prosecution himself. It was not until the age of 
thirty that he appeared as a speaker in the public assembly 
on political matters, and he enjoyed universal respect, and 

1 Plutarch; Cic. De Oral., iii. 34; Quin., x. i. § 82; Plat. Phed., p. 262. 
a Born 436 b. c. » Bom b. c. 458. * Dion. Lys., ii. 3. 



Chap, vn.] Demosthenes, 295 

became one of the leading statesmen of Athens, and hence- 
forth he took an active part in every question that con- 
cerned the state. He especially distinguished himself in 
his speeches against Macedonian aggrandizements, and his 
Philippics are, perhaps, the most brilliant of his orations. 
But the cause which he advocated was unfortunate. Tlie 
battle of Cheronea, b, c. 338, put an end to the independ- 
ence of Greece, and Philip of Macedon was all-powerful. 
For this catastrophe Demosthenes was somewhat responsi- 
ble, but his motives were pure and his patriotism lofty, and 
he retained the confidence of his countrymen. Accused by 
JEschines, he delivered his famous Oration on the Crown. 
Afterwards, during the supremacy of Alexander, he was 
again accused, and suffered exile. Recalled from exile, on 
the death of Alexander, he roused himself for the deliver- 
ance of Greece, without success, and, hunted by his enemies, 
he took poison in the sixty-third year of his age, having vain- 
ly contended for the freedom of his country, — one of the 
noblest spirits of antiquity, spotless in his public career, and 
lofty in his private life. As an orator, he has not probably 
been equaled by any man of any country. By his con- 
temporaries he was regarded as faultless as a public speaker, 
and when it is remembered that he struggled against 
physical difficulties which, in the early part of his career, 
would have utterly discouraged any ordinary man, we feel 
that he deserves the highest commendation. He never 
spoke without preparation, and most of his orations were 
severely elaborated. He never trusted to the impulse of 
the occasion. And all his orations exhibit him as a pure 
and noble patriot, and are full of the loftiest sentiments. 
He was a great artist, and his oratorical successes were 
greatly owing to the arrangement of his speeches and the 
application of the strongest arguments in their proper 
places. Added to this moral and intellectual superiority 
was the " magic power of his language, majestic and simple 
at the same time, rich yet not bombastic, strange and yet 



296 Roman Literature. [Chap. vii. 

familiar, solemn without being ornamented, grave and yet 
pleasing, concise and yet fluent, sweet and yet impressive, 
which altogether carried away the minds of his hearers." ^ 
His orations were most highly prized by the ancients, who 
wrote innumerable commentaries on them, but most of 
these criticisms are lost. Sixty, however, of these great 
productions of genius have come down to us, and are con- 
tained in the various collections of the Attic orators by Al- 
dus, Stephens, Taylor, Reiske, Dukas, Bekker, Dobson, 
and Sauppe. Demosthenes, like other orators, first became 
known as the composer of speeches for litigants ; but his 
great fame was based on the orations he pronounced in 
great political emergencies. His rival was ^Eschines, but 
he was vastly inferior to Demosthenes, although bold, vigor- 
ous, and brilliant. Indeed, the opinions of mankind, for 
two thousand years, have been unanimous in ascribing to 
Demosthenes the highest position as an orator of all the 
men of ancient and modern times. David Hume says of 
him, " that, could his manner be copied, its success would be 
infallible over a modern audience." " It is rapid harmony 
exactly adjusted to the sense. It is vehement reasoning, 
without any appearance of art. It is disdain, anger, bold- 
ness, freedom involved in a continual stream of argument ; 
so that, of all human productions, his orations present to 
us the models which approach the nearest to perfection." ^ 
It is probable that the Romans were behind the Athe- 
Koman uiaus in all the arts of rhetoric ; and yet in the 

orators. ^^^^^g ^^ ^|^g rcpublic Celebrated orators arose, 
called out by the practice of the law and political meetings. 
It was, in fact, in forensic eloquence that Latin prose first 
appears as a cultivated language ; for the forum was to the 
Romans what libraries are to us. And the art of public 
speaking was very early developed. Cato, Laelius, Carbo, 
and the Gracchi are said to have been majestic and har- 

1 Leonhard Schmitz. 

2 Dissertation of Lord Brougham on the Eloquence of the Ancient*. 



Chap. VII.] Cicero, 297 

monious in speech. Their merits were eclipsed by Aiito- 
nius, Crassus, Cotta, Sulpitius, and Hortensius. The last 
had a very brilliant career as an orator, although his ora- 
tions were too florid to be read. Caesar was also distin- 
guished for his eloquence, the characteristics of which were 
force and purity. Cselius was noted for lofty sentiment ; 
Brutus for philosophical wisdom ; Callidus for a delicate 
and harmonious style, and Calvus for sententious force. 
^ But all the Roman orators yielded to Cicero, as the 
Greeks did to Demosthenes. These two men 
are always coupled together when allusion is 
made to eloquence. They were preeminent in the ancient 
world, and have never been equaled in the modern. 

Cicero was not probably equal to his great Grecian rival 
in vehemence, in force, in fiery argument, which swept 
every thing away before him ; and he was not probably 
equal to him in original genius ; but he was his superior in 
learning, in culture, and in breadth.^ He distinguished 
himself very early as an advocate ; but his first great pub- 
lic effort was in the prosecution of Verres for corruption. 
Although defended by Hortensius, and the whole influence 
of the Metelli and other powerful families, Cicero gained 
his cause, — more fortunate than Burke in his prosecution 
of Warren Hastings, who was also sustained by powerful 
interests and families. Burke also resembled Cicero in his 
peculiarities and in his fortunes more than any modern 
orator. His speech on the Manilian law, when he ap- 
peared as a political orator, greatly contributed to his pop- 
ularity. I need not describe his memorable career ; his 
successive election to all the highest offices of state, his de- 
tection of Catiline's conspiracy, his opposition to turbulent 
and ambitious partisans, his alienations and friendships, 
his brilliant career as a statesman, his misfortunes and 
sorrows, his exile and recall, his splendid services to the 
state, his greatness and his defects, his virtues and weak- 

1 Bom B. c. 106. 



298 Moman Literature, [Chap. vii. 

• 
nesses, his triumphs and martyrdom. These are foreign to 

my purpose. No man of heathen antiquity is better known 
to us, and no man, by pure genius, ever won more glorious 
laurels. His life and labors are immortal. His virtues and 
services are embalmed in the heart of the world. Few men 
ever performed greater literary labors, and in most of its 
departments. Next to Aristotle, he was the most learned 
man of antiquity, but performed more varied labors than 
he, since he was not only great as a writer and speaker, 
but as a statesman, and was the most conspicuous man in 
Rome after Pompey and Csesar. He may not have had 
the moral greatness of Socrates, nor the philosophical 
genius of Plato, nor the overpowering eloquence of De- 
mosthenes, but he was a master of all the wisdom of 
antiquity. Even civil law^, the great science of the Ro- 
mans, became interesting in his hands, and is divested of 
its dryness and technicality. He popularized history, and 
paid honor to all art, even to the stage. He made the Ro- 
mans conversant with the philosophy of Greece, and sys- 
tematized the various speculations. He may not have 
added to the science, but no Roman, after him, understood 
so well the practical bearing of all the various systems. 
His glory is purely intellectual, and it was by pure genius 
that he rose to his exalted position and influence. 

But it was in forensic eloquence that he was preeminent, 
and in which he had but one equal in ancient times. Ro- 
man eloquence culminated in him. He composed about 
eighty orations, of which fifty-nine are preserved. Some 
were delivered from the rostrum to the people, and some 
in the Senate. Some were mere philippics, as savage in 
denunciation as those of Demosthenes. Some were lauda- 
tory ; some were judicial ; but all were severely logical, full 
of historical allusion, profound in philosophical wisdom, and 
pervaded Mith the spirit of patriotism. " He goes round 
and round his object, surveys it in every light, examines 
it in all its parts, retires and then advances, compares and 



Chap, vil] Cicero, 299 

contrasts it, illustrates, confirms, and enforces it, till the 
hearer feels ashamed of doubting a position which seems 
built on a foundation so strictly argumentative. And 
having established his case, he opens upon his opponent a 
discharge of raillery so delicate and good natured that it is 
impossible for the latter to maintain his ground against it ; 
or, when the subject is too grave, he colors his exaggera- 
tions with all the bitterness of irony and vehemence of 
passion. But the appeal to the gentler emotions is reserved 
for the close of the oration, as in the defense of Cluentius, 
Caelius, Milo, and Flaccus ; the most striking instances of 
which are the poetical bursts of feeling with which he ad- 
dresses his client, Plaucius, and his picture of the desolate 
condition of the vestal Fonteia, should her brother be con- 
demned. At other times his peroration contains more 
heroic and elevated sentiments, as in the invocation of the 
Alban Altars, and in his defense of Sextius, and that on 
liberty at the close of the third Philippic." ^ 

Critics have uniformly admired his style as peculiarly 
suited to the Latin language, which, being scanty and un- 
musical, requires more redundancy than the Greek. The 
simplicity of the Attic writers would make Latin composi- 
tion bold and tame. To be perspicuous, the Latin must be 
full. Thus Arnold thinks that what Tacitus gained in 
energy he lost in elegance and perspicuity. But Cicero, 
dealing with a barren and unphilosophical language, en- 
riched it with circumlocutions and metaphors, while he 
formed it of harsh and uncouth expressions, and thus be- 
came the greatest master of composition the world has 
seen. He was a great artist, making use of his scanty 
materials to the best effect ; and since he could not attain 
the elegance of the Greeks, he sought to excel them in 
vigor. He had absolute control over the resources of 
his vernacular tongue, and not only unrivaled skill in 
composition, but tact and judgment. Thus he was gener- 

1 Newman, Hist. Rom. Lit., p. 305. 



300 Roman Literature. [Chap, vii 

ally successful, in spite of the venality and corruption of 
the times. The courts of justice were the scene of his 
earliest triumphs ; nor did he speak from the rostra until he 
was praetor on mere political questions, as in reference to 
the Manilian and Agrarian laws. It is in his political dis- 
courses that he rises to the highest ranks. In his speeches 
against Verres, Catiline, and Antony, he kindles in his 
countrymen lofty feelings for the honor of his country, and 
abhorrence of tyranny and corruption. Indeed, he hated 
bloodshed, injustice, and strife, and beheld the downfall of 
liberty with indescribable sorrow. 

Cicero held a very exalted position as a philosophical 
writer and critic ; but we defer what we have to say on 
this point until we speak of the philosophy of the ancients. 
Upon eloquence his main efforts were, however, directed, 
and eloquence was the most perfect fruit of his talents. 
Nor can we here speak of Cicero as a man. He has his 
admirers and detractors. He had great faults and weak- 
nesses as well as virtues. He was egotistical, vain, and 
vacillating. But he was industrious, amiable, witty, and 
public spirited. In his official position he was incorruptible. 
He was no soldier, but he had a greater than a warrior's 
excellence. In spite of his faults, his name is one of the 
brightest of the ancients. His integrity was never im- 
peached, even in an age of unparalleled corruption, and 
he was pure in morals. He was free from rancor and 
jealousy, was true in his friendships, and indulgent to his 
dependents.^ 

Thus in oratory, as in history, the ancients can boast of 
most illustrious examples, never even equaled. Still, we 
cannot tell the comparative merits of the great classical 

1 Professor Ramsay, of Glasgow, has written a most admirable article on 
Cicero in Smith's Dlctionnry. It is very full and impartial. Cicero's own writ- 
ings are the best commentary on his life. Plutarch has alibrded much anecdote. 
Forsythe is the last work of erudition. The critics sneer at Middleton's Life of 
Cicero; but it has lasted one hundred years. It is, perhaps, too eulogistic. Dru- 
manh is said to have most completely exhausted his subject in his Geschichte 
Roms. 



Chap, vil] Varro, 301 

orators of antiquity, with the more distinguished of our 
times. Only Mirabeau, Pitt, Fox, Burke, Brougham, 
Webster, and Clay, can even be compared with them. In 
power of moving the people, some of our modern reform- 
ers and agitators may be mentioned favorably ; but their 
harangues are comparatively tame when read. 

In philosophy, the Greeks and Romans distinguished 
themselves more than even in poetry, or history, or elo- 
quence. Their speculations pertained to the loftiest sub- 
jects which ever tasked the intellect of man. But this 
great department deserves a separate chapter. There were 
respectable writers, too, in various other departments of 
literature, but no very great names whose writings have 
descended to us. Contemporaries had an exalted opinion 
of Varro, who was considered the most learned 

PIT* n 1 • 1 • Varro. 

of the Romans, as well as then' most volummous 
author. He was born ten years before Cicero, and he is 
highly commended by Augustine.^ He was entirely de- 
voted to literature, took no interest in passing events, 
and lived to a good old age. St. Augustine says of him, 
" that he wrote so much that one wonders how he had 
time to read ; and that he read so much, we are astonished 
how he found time to write." He composed four hundred 
and ninety books. Of these only one has descended to us 
entire — " De Re Rustica " — written at the age of eighty ; 
but it is the best treatise which has come down from an- 
tiquity on ancient agriculture. We have parts of his other 
books, and we know of books which have entirely per- 
ished which, for their information, would be invaluable ; 
especially his " Divine Antiquities," in sixteen books — his 
great work, from which St. Augustine drew his materials 
for his " City of God." He wrote treatises on language, 
on the poets, on philosophy, on geography, and various 
other subjects. He wrote satire and criticism. But al- 
though his writings were learned, his style was so bad that 
1 Born B. c. 116 ; Civ. Dei., vi. 2. 



302 Roman Literature. [Chap, vil 

the ages have failed to preserve him. It is singular that 
the truly immortal books are most valued for their artistic 
excellences. No man, however great his genius, can 
afford to be dull. Style is to written composition, what 
delivery is to a public speaker. John Foster, one of the 
finest intellects of the last generation, preached to a 
" handful " of hearers, w^hile " Satan " Montgomery drew 
ecstatic crowds. Nobody goes to hear the man of thoughts, 
every body to hear the man of words, being repelled or 
attracted by manner. 

Seneca was another great "writer among the Romans, 
but he belongs to the domain of philosophy, 
although it is his ethical works which have given 
him immortality, as may be truly said of Socrates and 
Epictetus, although they are usually classed among the 
philosophers. He was a Spaniard, and was born a few 
years before the Christian era, was a lawyer and a rhetori- 
cian, a teacher and minister of Nero. It was his misfor- 
tune to know one of the most detestable princes that ever 
scandalized humanity, and it is not to his credit to have 
accumulated, in four years, one of the largest fortunes in 
Rome, while serving such a master. But since he lived to % 
experience his ingratitude, he is more commonly regarded 
as a martyr. Had he lived in the republican period, he 
would have been a great orator. He wrote voluminously 
on many subjects, and was devoted to a literary life. He 
rejected the superstitions of his country, and looked upon 
the ritualism of religion as a mere fashion ; but his religion 
was a mere deism, and he dishonored his own virtues by a 
compliance with the vices of others. He saw much of 
life, and died at fifty-three. What is remarkable in his 
writings, wdiich are clear but labored, is, that under pagan 
influences and imperial tyranny, he should have presented 
such lofty moral truth ; and it is a mark of almost tran- 
scendent talent that he should, unaided by Christianity, 
have soared so high in the realm of ethical inquiry. Nor 



Chap. VII.] Quintilian, — Lucian. 303 

is it easy to find any modern author who has treated great 
questions in so attractive a way. 

QuintiHan is a Latin classic, and belonged to the class 
of rhetoricians, and should have been mentioned 

1 iM T • ii /-I 1 QuintiUan. 

among the orators, like Lysias the Cxreek, a 
teacher, however, of eloquence, rather than an orator. 
He was born a. d. 40, and taught the younger Pliny, also 
two nephews of Domitian, receiving a regular salary from 
the imperial treasury. His great work is a complete sys- 
tem of rhetoric. " Institutiones Oratorioe " is one of the 
clearest and fullest of all rhetorical manuals ever written 
in any language, although, as a literary production, inferior 
to the '' De Orator e " of Cicero. It is very practical and 
sensible, and a complete compendium of every topic likely 
to be useful in the education of an aspirant for the honors 
of eloquence. In systematic arrangement, it falls short of a 
similar work by Aristotle ; but it is celebrated for its sound 
judgment and keen discrimination, showing great reading 
and reflection. He should be viewed as a critic rather 
than as a rhetorician, since he entered into the merits and 
defects of the great masters of Greek and Roman litera- 
ture. In his peculiar province he has had no superior. 
Like Cicero, or Demosthenes, or Plato, or Thucydides, or 
Tacitus, he would be a great man if he lived in our times, 
and could proudly challenge the modern world to produce 
a better teacher than he in the art of public speaking. 

There are other writers of immense fame, who do not 
represent any particular class in the field of literature, 
which can be compared with the modern. But I can only 
draw attention to Lucian, a witty and voluminous 
Greek author, who lived in the reign of Com- 
modus, wrote rhetorical, critical, and biographical works, 
and even romances which have given hints to modern au- 
thors. But his fame rests on his " Dialogues," intended to 
ridicule the heathen philosophy and religion, and which 
show him to have been one of the great masters of ancient 
satire and mockery. His style of dialogue — a combina- 



804 Roman Literature, [Chap. vn. 

tion of Plato and Aristophanes — is not much used by 
modern writers, and his peculiar kind of ridicule is reserved 
now for the stao;e. Yet he cannot be called a writer of 
comedy, like Moliere. He resembles Rabelais and Swift 
more than any other modern writers, and has their indig- 
nant wit, indecent jokes, and pungent sarcasms. lie paints, 
like Juvenal, the vices and follies of his time, and exposes 
the hypocrisy that reigns in the high places of fashion and 
power. His dialogues have been imitated by Fontanelle 
and Lord Lyttleton, but they do not possess his humor or 
pungency, Lucian does not grapple with great truths, but 
contents himself in ridiculing those who have proclaimed 
them ; and, in his cold cynicism, depreciates human knowl- 
edge, and all the great moral teachers of mankind. He is 
even shallow and flippant upon Socrates. But he was well 
read in human nature, and superficially acquainted with all 
the learning of antiquity. In wit and sarcasm, he may be 
compared with Voltaire, and his end was the same, to 
demolish and pull down, without substituting any thing in 
its stead. His skepticism was universal, and extended 
to religion, to philosophy, and to every thing venerated 
and ancient. His purity of style was admired by Erasmus, 
and he has been translated into most European languages. 
The best English version is rendered by Dr. Franklin, 
London, 2 vols. 4to. In strono; contrast to the " Dialoo-ues " 
is the " City of God," by Saint Augustine, in which he 
demolishes with keener ridicule all the gods of antiquity, 
but substitutes instead the knowledore of the true God. 

Thus the Romans, as well as Greeks, produced works 
in all departments of literature which will bear compan- 
son with the masterpieces of modern times. And where 
would have been the literature of the early Church, or of 
modern nations, had not the great original writers of 
Athens and Rome been our schoolmasters? And when 
we further remember that their crlorious literature was 
created by native genius, without the aid of Christianity, 
we are filled with amazement, and may almost be excused 



Chap. VII.] Pagan Literature and Art, 305 

if we deify the reason of man. At least we are assured 
that literature as well as art may flourish under pagan in- 
fluences, and that Christianity has a higher mission than 
the culture of the mind. Religious skepticism cannot be 
disarmed if we appeal to Christianity as the test of intel- 
lectual culture. The realm of reason has no fairer fields 
than those which are adorned by pagan art. Nor have 
greater triumphs of intellect been witnessed in these, our 
Christian times, than among that class which is the least 
influenced by Christian ideas. Some of the proudest 
trophies of genius have been won by infidels, or by men 
stigmatized as such. Witness Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, 
Hegel, Fichte, Gibbon, Hume, Buckle. And then how 
many great works are written without the inspiration oi 
the spirit of a living Christianity ! How little Bulwer, or 
Byron, or Dumas, or Goethe owe, apparently, to Chris- 
tian teachings I Is Emerson superior to Epictetus, in an 
ethical point of view ? Was Franklin a great philosopher, 
or Jefferson a great statesman, because they were sur- 
rounded by Christian examples ? May there not be the 
greatest practical infidelity, with the most artistic beauty 
and native reach of thought ? Milton justly ascribes the 
most sublime intelligence to Satan and his angels on the 
point of rebellion against the majesty of Heaven. A great 
genius may be kindled by the fires of discontent and am- 
bition, which will quicken the intellectual faculties, even 
while they consume the soul, and spread their devastating 
influence on the homes and hopes of man. 

References. — There are no better authorities than the classical 
authors themselves, and their works must be studied in order to com- 
prehend the spirit of ancient literature. Modern historians of Roman 
literature are merely critics, like Drumann, Schlegel, Niebuhr, Miiller, 
Mommsen, Mure, Arnold, Dunlap, and Thompson. Nor do I know of 
an exhaustive history of Roman literature in the English language. 
Yet nearly every great writer has occasional criticisms, entitled to re- 
spect. The Germans, in this department, have no equals. As critics 
and commentators they are unrivaled. 
20 



CHAPTER VIII. 

GRECIAN PHILOSOPHY. 

Whatever may be said of the inferiority of the ancients 
to the moderns in natural and mechanical science, which 
no one is disposed to question, or even in the realm of 
literature, which can be questioned, there was one depart- 
ment which they carried to absolute perfection, and to 
which we have added nothing of consequence. In the 
realm of art they were our equals, and probably our supe- 
riors ; in philosophy they carried logical deductions to their 
utmost limit. They created the science. They advanced, 
from a few" crude speculations on material phenomena, 
to an analysis of all the powers of the mind, and finally to 
the establishment of ethical principles which even Christian- 
ity did not overturn. The progress of the science, from 
Thales to Plato, is the most stupendous triumph of the 
human understandino;. The reason of man soared to the 
loftiest flights that it has ever attained. It cast its search- 
ing eye into the most abstruse inquiries which ever tasked 
the famous intellects of the world. It exhausted all the 
subjects which dialectical subtlety ever raised. It origi- 
nated and it carried out the boldest speculations respecting 
the nature of the soul and its future existence. It estab- 
lished most important psychological truths. It created a 
method for the solution of the most abstruse questions. It 
went on, from point to point, until all the faculties of the 
mind were severely analyzed, and all its operations were 
subjected to a rigid method. The Romans never added a 
single principle to the pliilosophy which the Greeks elabc 



Chap, viil] Origin of G-recian Philosophy, 307 

rated ; the ingenious scholastics of the Middle Ages merely 
reproduced theu' ideas ; and even the profound and patient 
Germans have gone round in the same circles that Plato 
and Aristotle marked out more than two thousand years 
ago. It was Greek philosophy in which noble Roman 
youth were educated, and hence, as it was expounded by a 
Cicero, a Marcus Aurelius, and an Epictetus, it was as much 
the inheritance of the Romans as it was of the Greeks 
themselves, after their political liberties were swept away, 
and the Grecian cities formed a part of the Roman empire. 
The Romans learned, or might have learned, what the 
Greeks created and taught, and philosophy became, as well 
as art, identified with the civilization which extended from 
the Rhine and the Po to the Nile and the Tigris. Grecian 
philosophy was one of the distinctive features of ancient 
civilization long after the Greeks had ceased to speculate 
on the laws of mind, or the nature of the soul, or the ex- 
istence of God, or future rewards and punishments. Al- 
though it was purely Grecian in its origin and develoj)ment, 
it cannot be left out of the survey of the triumphs of the 
human mind when the Romans were masters of the world, 
and monopolized the fruits of all the arts and sciences. It 
became one of the grand ornaments of the Roman schools, 
one of the priceless possessions of the Roman conquer- 
ors. The Romans did not originate medicine, but Galen 
was one of its greatest lights ; they did not invent the hex- 
ameter verse, but Virgil sung to its measure ; they did not 
create Ionic capitals, but their cities were ornamented with 
marble temples on the same principles as those which called 
out the admiration of Pericles. So, if they did not origi- 
nate philosophy, and generally had but little taste for it, 
still its truths were systematized and explained by Cicero, 
and forijied no small accession to the treasures with which 
cultivated intellects sought everywhere to be enriched. It 
formed an essential part of the intellectual wealth of the 
civihzed world, when civilization could not prevent the 



308 G-recian Philosophy. [Chap. viii. 

world from falling into decay and ruin. And as it was the 
noblest triumph which the human mind, under pagan in- 
fluences, ever achieved, so it was followed by the most de- 
grading imbecility into which man, in civilized countries, 
was ever allowed to fall. Philosophy, like art, like litera- 
ture, like science, arose, shined, grew dim, and passed 
away, and left the world in night. Why was so bright a 
glory followed by so dismal a shame ? What a comment 
is this on the greatness and littleness of man ! 

The development of Greek philosophy is doubtless one 
Commence- of tlic most interesting and instructive subjects 
Grecian in the wholc history of mind. In all probabil- 
tions. ity it originated with the Ionian Sophoi, though 

many suppose it was derived from the East. It is ques- 
tionable whether the oriental nations had any philoso- 
phy distinct from religion. The Germans are fond of 
tracing resemblances in the early speculations of the 
Greeks to the systems which prevailed in Asia from a 
very remote antiquity. Gladish sees in the Pythagorean 
system an adoption of Chinese doctrines ; in the Heraclitic 
system, the influence of Persia ; in the Empedoclean, Egyp- 
tian speculations ; and in the Anaxagorean, the Jewish 
creeds.^ But the Orientals had theogonies, not philoso- 
phies. The Indian speculations aim to an exposition of 
ancient revelation. They profess to liberate the soul from 
the evils of mortal life — to arrive at eternal beatitudes. 
But the state of perfectibility could only be reached by 
religious ceremonial observances and devout contempla- 
tion. The Indian systems do not disdain logical discus- 
sions, or a search after the principles of which the universe 
is composed ; and hence we find great refinements in soph- 
istry, and a wonderful subtlety of logical discussion ; but 
these are directed to unattainable ends, — to the connection 
of good with evil, and the union of the supreme with 
nature. Nothing came out of these speculations but an 

1 Lewes, Biog. Hist. ofPhilos.., Introd. 



Chap. VIII.] Ideas and Speculations of Thales. 309 

occasional elevation of mind among the learned, and a 
profound conviction of the misery of man and the obstacles 
to his perfection.^ The Greeks, starting from physical 
phenomena, went on in successive series of inquiries, until 
they elevated themselves above matter, above experience, 
even to the loftiest abstractions, and until they classified 
the laws of thought. It is curious how speculation led to 
demonstration, and how inquiries into the world of matter 
prepared the way for the solution of intellectual phenomena. 
Philosophy kept pace with geometry, and those who ob- 
served nature also gloried in abstruse calculations. Philos- 
ophy and mathematics seem to have been allied with the 
worship of art among the same men, and it is difficult to 
say which more distinguished them, aesthetic culture or 
power of abstruse reasoning. 

We do not read of any remarkable philosophical inquirer 
until Thales arose, the first of the Ionian school. 

Thales. 

He was born at Miletus, a Greek colony in 
Asia Minor, about the year b. c. 636, when Ancus Martins 
was king of Rome, and Josiah reigned at Jerusalem. He 
has left no writings behind him, but he was numbered 
as one of the seven wise men of Greece. He was num- 
bered with the wise men on account of his political sa- 
gacity and wisdom in public affairs.^ 

" And he, 't is said, did first compute the stars 
Which beam in Charles' wain, and guide the bark 
Of the Phoenician sailor o'er the sea." 

He was the first who attempted a logical solution of mate- 
rial phenomena, without resorting to mythical representa- 
tions. Thales felt that there was a grand question to be 
answered relative to the beginning of things. " Philoso- 
phy," it has been well said, " may be a history of errors, 
but not 0^ follies. ^^ It was not a folly, in a rude age, to 
speculate on the first or fundamental principle of things. 

1 See Archer Butler's fine lecture on the Indian Philosophies. 

2 Miiller, Hist, of Grec. Lit.^ eh. xvii. 



310 Grecian Philosophy, [Chap.viil 

He looked around him upon Nature, upon the sea and earth 
Water the ^^^^ ^^J? ^^^^ coucluded that water or moisture 
pifif^Nat?" ^^^ t^^ "^ital principle. He felt it in the air, he 
"'*• saw it in the clouds above, and in the ground be- 

neath his feet. He saw that plants were sustained by rain 
and by the dew, that neither animal nor man could live 
without water, and that to fishes it was the native ele- 
ment. What more important or vital than water ? It was 
the prima materia^ the ap;^^, the beginning of all things 
— the origin of the world.-^ I do not here speak of his 
astronomical and geometrical labors — as the first to have 
divided the year into three hundred and sixty-five days. 
He is celebrated also for practical wisdom. " Know thy- 
self," is one of his remarkable sayings. But the founda- 
tion principle of his philosophy was that water is the first 
cause of all things — the explanation of the origin of the 
universe. How so crude a speculation could have been 
maintained by so wise a man it is difficult to conjecture. 
It is not, however, the reason which he assigns for the be- 
ginning of things which is noteworthy, so much as the fact 
that his mind was directed to the solution of questions per- 
taining to the origin of the universe. It was these ques- 
tions which marked the Ionian philosophers. It was these 
which showed the inquiring nature of their minds. What 
is the great first cause of all things ? Thales saw it in one 
of the four elements of nature, as the ancients divided them. 
And it is the earliest recorded theory among the Greeks of 
the origin of the world. It is an induction from the phe- 
nomena of animated nature — the nutrition and production 
of a seed.^ He regarded the entire world in the lip;ht of a 
living being gradually maturing and forming itself from an 
imperfect seed state, which was of a moist nature. This 
moisture endues the universe with vitality. The world, he 
thought, was full of gods, but they had their origin in water. 

1 Aristotle, Metaph., 1. c. 3; Diog. Laertius, Thales. 

2 Ritter, b. iii. c. 3; Lewes, ch. 1. 



Chap. VIII.] Doctrines of Anaximenes, 311 

He had no conception of God as Intelligence^ or as a crea" 
tive power. He had a great and inquiring mind, but he 
was a pagan, with no knowledge of a spiritual and control- 
ling and personal deity. 

Anaximenes, his disciple, pursued his inquiries, and 

adopted his method. He also was born in Mile- Anaximenes. 

, . ^ 111 -^^^ *^® '^^^' 

tus, but at what tnne is unknown, probably B. c. mus mundi. 

529. Like Thales, he held to the eternity of matter. 
Like him, he disbelieved in the existence of any thing im- 
material, for even a human soul is formed out of matter. 
He, too, speculated on the origin of the universe, but 
thought that air^ not water, was the primal cause. ^ This 
seemed to be universal. We breathe it ; all things are 
sustained by it. It is Life — that is pregnant with vital 
energy, and capable of infinite transmutations. All things 
are produced by it ; all is again resolved into it ; it supports 
all things ; it surrounds the world ; it has infinitude ; it 
has eternal motion. Thus did this philosopher reason, 
comparing the world with our own living existence, — 
which he took to be air, — an imperishable principle of 
life. He thus advanced a step on Thales, since he re- 
garded the world not after the analogy of an imperfect 
seed-state, but that of the highest condition of life, — the 
human soul.^ And he attempted to refer to one general 
law all the transformations of the first simple substance into 
its successive states, for the cause of change is the eternal 
motion of the air. 

Diogenes of Apollonia, in Crete, one of his disciples, 
born B. C. 460, also believed that air was the Diogenes.— 

' ^ n .^ ' 1 1 • 1 . ■^i'^ *°<i soul 

principle or the universe, but he imputed to it an identical, 
intellectual energy, yet without recognizing any distinction 
between mind and matter.^ He made air and the soul 
identical. " For," says he, " man and all other animals 
breathe and live by means of the air, and therein consists 

1 Cicero, De Nat. £>., i. 10. 2 Ritter, b. iii. c 3. 

8 Diog. Laert., ii. 3; Bayle, Diet. Eist, et Crit. 



312 Grecian Philosophy, [Chap, viil 

their soul." ^ And as it is the primary being from which all 
is derived, it is necessarily an eternal and imperishable 
body ; but, as soul^ it is also endued with consciousness. 
Dioo-enes thus refers the orio;in of the world to an intelli- 
gent being — to a soul which knows and vivifies. Anax- 
imenes regarded air as having Life. Diogenes saw in it 
also Intelligence. Thus philosophy advanced step by step, 
though still groping in the dark ; for the origin of all 
things, according to Diogenes, must exist in Intelligence, 

Heraclitus of Ephesus, classed by Ritter among the 
Heraciitus.— louiau philosophcrs, was born b. C. 503. Like 
cipieof life, otlicrs of his scliool, he sought a physical ground 
for all phenomena. The elemental principle he regarded 
as jire^ since all things are convertible into it. In one of 
its modifications, this fire, or fluid, self-kindled, permeating 
every thing as the soul or principle of Hfe, is endowed with 
intelHgence and powers of ceaseless activity. " If Anax- 
imenes discovered that he had within him a power and 
principle which ruled over all the acts and functions of his 
bodily frame, Heraclitus found that there was life within 
him which he could not call his own, and yet it was, in the 
very highest sense, himself^ so that without it he would 
have been a poor, helpless, isolated creature ; a universal 
life which connected him with his fellow-men, — with the 
absolute source and original fountain of life." ^ " He pro- 
claimed the absolute vitality of nature, the endless change 
of matter, the mutability and perishability of all individual 
things in contrast with the eternal Being — the supreme 
harmony which rules over all." ^ To trace the divine 
energy of life in all things was the general problem of his 
philosophy, and this spirit was akin to the pantheism of the 
East. But he was one of the greatest speculative intellects 
that preceded Plato, and of all the physical theorists 
arrived nearest to spiritual truth. He taught the germs 

1 Ritter, b. iii. c. 3. 2 Maurice, Moral and Metaph. Phil. 

8 Lewes, Biog. Hist, of Phil. 



Chap. VIII.] Doctrines of Anaxagoras. 313 

of what was afterwards more completely developed. 
" From his theory of perpetual fluxion Plato derived the 
necessity of seeking a stable basis for the universal system 
in his w^orld of ideas." ^ 

Anaxagoras, the most famous of the Ionian philosophers, 
was born b. c. 500, and belonged to a rich and noble fam- 
ily. Regarding philosophy as the noblest pursuit of earth, 
he abandoned his inheritance for the study of nature. He 
went to Athens in the most brilliant period of her history, 
and had Pericles, Euripides, and Socrates for pupils. He 
tauglit that the great moving force of nature was intel- 
lect (vous). Intelligence was the cause of the world 
and of order, and mind was the principle of motion ; yet 
this intelligence was not a moral intelligence, but simply 
the primum mobile — the all-knowing motive force by 
which the order of nature is effected. He thus laid the 
foundation of a new system which, under the Attic phil- 
osophers, sought to explain nature, not by regarding mat- 
ter in its different forms, as the cause of all things, but 
rather mind, thought, intelligence, which both knows and 
acts — a grand conception unrivaled in ancient speculation. 
This explanation of material phenomena by intellectual 
causes was his peculiar merit, and places him in a very 
high rank among the thinkers of the world. Moreover, 
he recognized the reason as the only faculty by which we 
become cognizant of truth, the senses being too weak to 
discover the real component particles of things. Like all 
the great inquirers, he was impressed with the limited de- 
gree of positive knowledge, compared with what there is 
to be learned. " Nothing," says he, " can be known ; noth- 
ing is certain ; sense is limited, intellect is weak, hfe 
is short "2 — the complaint, not of a skeptic, but of a 
man overwhelmed with the sense of his incapacity to solve 
the problems which arose before his active mind.^ Anax- 

1 Archer Butler, series i. lect. v. ; Hegel, Gesch. D. Phil, i. p. 334. 

2 Cicero, Qu. Ac, i. 12. S Lucret., lib. i. 834-875. 



f ^^ 



31-4 Grecian Philosophy/. [Chap. viii. 

agoras tliought that this spirit (Noi!s) gave to all those 
material atoms, which, in the beginning of the world, lay 
in disorder, the impulse by which they took the forms of 
individual things, and that this impulse was given in a cir- 
cular direction. Hence that the sun, moon, and stars, and 
even the air, are constantly moving in a circle.^ 

In the mean time another sect of philosophers arose, 
Anaximan- who, like the louiaus, sought to explain nature, 
thL*thein- ^^* ^y ^ different method. Anaximander, born 
oSgfn of*^^ B. c. 610, was one of the original mathematicians 
things. ^^ Greece, yet, like Pythagoras and Thales, spec- 

ulated on the beginning of things. His principle was that 
the Infinite is the origin of all things. He used the word 
apxq to denote the material out of which all things were 
formed, as the everlasting and divine.^ The idea of ele- 
vating an abstraction into a great first cause is certainly 
puerile, nor is it easy to understand his meaning, other than 
that the abstract has a liio;her sio-nificance than the con- 
Crete. The speculations of Thales tended toward discov- 
ering the material constitution of the universe, upon an 
induction from observed facts, and thus made water to be 
the origin of all things. Anaximander, accustomed to view 
things in the abstract, could not accept so concrete a thing 
as water ; his speculations tended toward mathematics, to 
the science of pure deduction. The primary being is a 
unity, one in all, comprising within itself the multiplicity 
of elements from which all mundane things are composed. 
It is only in infinity that the perpetual changes of things 
can take place.^ This original but obscure thinker pre- 
pared the way for Pythagoras. 

This philosopher and mathematician, born about the year 
Pythagoras. ^* ^' ^'^^i ^^ ^"® ^^ *^^ great uamcs of antiquity ; 
the^e«Snce ^'^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ shroudcd iu dim magnificence, 
of things. rpj^^ ^ij ijjgtQrjg^jis paint him as " clothed in robes 

1 Miiller, Hist. Lit. of Greece, chap. xvii. 2 Arist., Phy., iii. 4. 

* Diog. Laert., i. 119; Cicero, Tus. Qu., i. 16; Tenneinann, p. 1, ch. i. § 86. 



Chap. VIII.] Doctrines of Pythagoras. 315 

of white, his head covered with gold, his aspect grave and 
majestic, wrapt in the contemplation of the mysteries of 
existence, listening to the music of Homer and Hesiod, or 
to the harmony of the spheres." ^ To him is ascribed the 
use of the word philosopher rather than sophos^ a lover of 
wisdom, not wise man. He taught his doctrines to a select 
few, the members of which society lived in common, and 
venerated him as an oracle. His great doctrine is, that 
number is the essence of things, by which is understood the 
form and not the matter of the sensible. The elements 
of numbers are the odd and even^ the former being re- 
garded as limited, the latter unlimited. Diogenes Laer- 
tius thus sums up his doctrines, which were that " the 
monad is the beginning of every thing. From the monad 
proceeds an indefinite duad. From the monad and the 
duad proceed numbers^ and from numbers signs^ and from 
these lines^ of which plain figures consist. And from 
plain figures are derived solid bodies, and from these 
sensible bodies, of which there are four elements, fire, 
water, earth, and air. The world results from a com- 
bination of these elements." ^ All this is unintelliiiible 
or indefinite. We cannot comprehend how the number 
theory will account for the production of corporeal mag- 
nitude any easier than we can identify monads with math- 
ematical points. But underlying this mysticism is the 
thought that there prevails in the phenomena of nature a 
rational order ^ harmony^ and conformity to law^ order and 
and that these laws can be represented by num- nature. 
bers. Number or harmony is the principle of the uni- 
verse, and order holds together the world. Like Anax- 
imander, he passes from the region of physics to metaphys- 
ics, and thus opens a new world of speculation. His 
method was purely deductive, and his science matliemat- 
ical. " The Infinite of Anaximander became the One of 
Pythagoras." Assuming that number is the essence of the 
1 Lewes, Biog. Hist. Phil. 2 Diog. Laert., Lives of Phil. 



316 Grecian Philosophy. [Chap. VIIL 

world, he deduced that the world is reo-ulated bv numerical 
proportions, in other words, by a system of laws, and these 
laws, regular and harmonious in their operation, may have 
suggested to the great mind of Pythagoras, so religious and 
lofty, the necessity for an intelligent creator of the uni- 
verse. It was in moral truth that he dehghted as well as 
metaphysical, and his life and the lives of his d[sciples were 
disciplined to a severe virtue, as if he recognized in num- 
bers or order the necessity of a conformity to all law, and 
saw in obedience to it both harmony and beauty. But we 
have no direct and positive evidence of the kind or amount 
of knowledge which this great intellect acquired. All that 
can be affirmed is, that he was a man of extensive at- 
tainments ; that he was a great mathematician, that he 
was very religious, that he devoted himself to doing good, 
that he placed happiness in the virtues of the soul or the 
perfect science of numbers, and made a likeness to the 
Deity the object of all endeavors. He believed that 
the soul was incorporeal,^ and is put into the body by 
the means of number and harmonical relation, and thus 
subject to a divine regulation. Every thing was regarded 
by him in a moral light. The order of the universe is only 
a harmonical development of the first principle of all things 
to virtue and wisdom.^ He attached great value to music, 
as a subject of precise mathematical calculation, and an art 
which has a great effect on the affections. Hence morals 
and mathematics were linked together in his mind. As 
the heavens were ordered in consonance with number, 
they must move in eternal order. " The spheres " re- 
volved in harmonious order around the great centre of 
light and heat — the sun — " the throne of the elemental 
world." Hence the doctrine of" the music of the spheres." 
Pythagoras ad harmoniam canere mundum existimat.^ The 

1 Ritter, b. iv. chap. i. 

2 Our knowledge of Pythagoras is chiefly derived from Aristotle. Both Rit- 
ter and Brandis have presented his views elaborately, but with more clearness 
than was to be expected. 

8 Cicero, De Nat. D., iii. ii. 27. 



Chap. VIII.] Doctrines of Xenophanes, 317 

tendency of his speculations, obscure as they are to us, 
was to raise the soul to a contemplation of order and beauty 
and law, in the material universe, and hence to the con- 
templation of a supreme intelligence reigning in justice and 
truth. Justice and truth became therefore paramount vir- 
tues, to be practiced, to be sought as the great end of 
life, allied with the order of the universe, and with mathe- 
matical essences — the attributes of the deity, the sublime 
unity which he adored. 

The Ionic philosophers, and the Pythagoreans, sought 
to find the nature or first principle of all things in the ele- 
ments, or in numbers. But the Eleatics went beyond the 
realm of physics to pure metaphysical inquiries. This is 
the second stage in the history of philosophy — an ideal- 
istic pantheism, which disregarded the sensible and main- 
tained that the source of all truth is independent of 
sense. 

The founder of this school was Xenophanes, born in 
Colophon, an Ionian city of Asia Minor, from xenophanes. 
which, being expelled, he wandered over Sicily ^s^gre*it^ 
as a rhapsodist or minstrel, reciting his elegiac ^^"^^' 
poetry on the loftiest truths ; and at last came to Elea, 
about the year 536, where he settled. The great subject 
of his inquiries was God himself — the first great cause — 
the supreme intelligence of the universe. " From the 
principle ex nihilo nihil jit, he concluded that nothing could 
pass from non-existence to existence. All things that ex- 
ist are eternal and immutable. God, as the most perfect 
essence, is eternally One, unalterable, neither finite nor in- 
finite, neither movable nor immovable, and not to be rep- 
resented under any human semblance." ^ What a great 
stride was this ! Whence did he derive his opinions ? He 
starts with the proposition that God is an all-powerful 
being, and denies all beginning of being, and hence infers 
that God must be from eternity. From this truth he ad- 

1 Tennemann, Hist, of Phil, p. 1, § 98. 



318 Grecian Philosophy/, [Chap. vni. 

varices to deny all multiplicity. A plurality of gods is 
impossible. With these sublime views — the unity and 
eternity and omnipotence of God — he boldly attacked 
the popular errors of his day. He denounced the trans- 
ference to the deity of the human form ; he inveighed 
against Homer and Hesiod ; he ridiculed the doctrine of 
migration of souls. Thus he sings, — 

" Such things of the gods are related by Homer and Hesiod, 
As would be shame and abiding disgrace to mankind, — 
Promises broken, and thefts, and the one deceiving the other." i 

And, again, respecting anthropomorphic representations 
of the Deity, — 

*' But men foolishly think that gods are bom like as men are, 
And have, too, a dress like their own, and their voice and their figure; 
But there 's but one God alone, the greatest of gods and of mortals, 
Neither in body, to mankind resembling, neither in ideas." 

Such were his sublime meditations. He believed in the 
One, which is God ; but this all-pervading, unmoved, un- 
divided being was not a personal God, nor a moral gov- 
ernor, but the deity pervading all space. He could not sep- 
arate God from the world, nor could he admit the existence 
of world which is not God. He was a monotheist, but his 
God seen in uionothcism was pantheism. He saw God in all 
felt*iuo^Tf' t^^^ manifestations of nature. This did not sat- 
nature. jg^^ j^jj^^^ ^^^ rcsolve his doubts, and he therefore 
confessed that reason could not compass the exalted aims 
of philosophy. But there was no cynicism in his doubt. 
It was the soul-sickening consciousness that Reason was 
incapable of solving the mighty questions that he burned 
to know. There was no way to arrive at the truth, " for," 
as he said, " error is spread over all things." It was not 
disdain of knowledge, it was the combat of contradictory 
opinions that oppressed him. He could not solve the ques- 
tions pertaining to God. What uninstructed reason can ? 
" Canst thou by searching find out God, canst thou know 

1 See Ritter, on Xenophanes. See note 20, in Archer tjtler, series i. lect vi. 



Chap. viiL] Parmenides and Zeno, 319 

the Almighty unto perfection." What was impossible to 
Job, was not possible to him. But he had attained a 
recognition of the unity and perfections of God, He sought to 
and this conviction he would spread abroad, and k^^ie^dge 
tear down the superstitions which hid the face of ^^ ^^^' 
truth. I have great admiration of this philosopher, so sad, 
so earnest, so enthusiastic, wandering from city to city, 
indifferent to money, comfort, friends, fame, that he might 
kindle the knowledge of God. This was a lofty aim in- 
deed for philosophy in that age. It was a higher mis- 
sion than that of Homer,^ great as his was, but not so suc- 
cessful. 

Parmenides of Elea, born about the year b. c. 536, fol- 
lowed out the system of Xenophanes, the central idea of 
which was the existence of God. With him the central idea 
was the notion of being. Being is uncreated and unchange- 
able ; the fullness of all being is thought ; the All is thought 
arid intelligence. He maintained the uncertainty of knowl- 
edge ; but meant the knowledge derived through the 
senses. He did not deny the certainty of reason. He 
was the first who drew a distinction between knowledo;e 
obtained by the senses, and that obtained through the 
reason ; and thus he anticipated the doctrine of innate 
ideas. From the uncertainty of knowledge derived through 
the senses, he deduced the twofold system of true and 
apparent knowledge.^ 

Zeno of Elea, the fi'iend and pupil of Parmenides, born 
B. c. 500, brought nothing new to the system, but zeno intro- 
invented Dialectics^ that logic which afterwards method. 
became so powerful in the hands of Plato and Aristotle, 
and so generally admired among the schoolmen. It seeks 
to establish truth by refuting error by the reductio ad ah' 
siirdum. While Parmenides sought to establish the doc- 

o 

1 Lewes has some shallow remarks on this point, although spirited and read- 
able. Ritter is more earnest. 

2 Prof. Brandis's article in Smith's Dictionary. 



320 Grreeian Philosophy/, [Chap. viii. 

trine of the One, Zeno proved the non-existence of the 
3Iany. He denied that appearances were real existences, 
but did not deny existences. It was the mission of Zeno 
to estabhsh the doctrines of his master. But, in order to 
convince his hsteners, he v/as obhged to use a new method 
of argument. So he carried on his argumentation by 
question and answer, and was, therefore, the first who 
used dialogue as a medium of philosophical communica- 
tion.^ 

Empedocles, born B. c. 444, like others of the Eleatics, 
Empedocies. complaiucd of the imperfection of the senses, and 
moving loolvcd for trutli only in reason. He regarded 

cause of all . i i i i i 

things. truth as a perfect unity, ruled by love, — the 

only true force, the one moving cause of all things, — the 
first creative power by whom the world was formed. Thus 
" God is love," a sublime doctrine which philosophy re- 
vealed to the Greeks. 

Thus did the Eleatic philosophers speculate almost con- 
temporaneously with the lonians, on the beginning of 
things and the origin of knowledge, taking different grounds, 
and attempting to correct the representations of sense by 
the notions of reason. But both schools, although they 
did not establish many truths, raised an inquisitive spirit 
and awakened freedom of thought and inquiry. They 
raised up workmen for more enlightened times, even as 
scholastic inquirers in the Middle Ages prepared the way 
for the revival of philosophy on sounder principles. They 
were all men of remarkable elevation of character as well 
as genius. They hated superstitions and attacked the 
Anthropomorphism of their day. They handled gods and 
goddesses with allegorizing boldness, and hence were often 
The loftiness pcrsecutcd by the people. They did not estab- 
atic^JThuIls- ^^^^^ moral truths by scientific processes, but they 
ophera. g^^ cxamplcs of lofty disdain of wealth and facti- 

tious advantages, and devoted themselves with holy entliu- 
1 Cousin, Nouveaux Fragments Philosojihiques. 



Chap, yiii.] Rise of the Sophists. 321 

siasm to the solution of the great questions which pertain 
to God and nature. Thales won the respect of his country- 
men by devotion to studies. Pythagoras spent twenty- 
two years in Egypt to learn its science. Xenophanes 
wandered over Sicily as a rhapsodist of truth. Parmeni- 
des, born to wealth and splendor, forsook the feverish 
pursuit of sensual enjoyments to contemplate " the quiet 
and still air of delio;htful studies." Zeno declined all 
worldly honors to diffuse the doctrines of his master. 
Heraclitus refused the chief magistracy of Ephesus that he 
might have leisure to explore the depths of his own nature. 
Anaxagoras allowed his patrimony to run to waste in order 
to solve problems. " To philosophy," said he, " I owe 
my worldly ruin and my soul's prosperity." They were, 
without exception, the greatest and best men of their times. 
They laid the foundation of the beautiful temple which 
was constructed after they were dead, in which both 
physics and psychology reached the dignity of science.^ 

Nevertheless, these great men, lofty as were their inqui- 
ries, and blameless their lives, had not established any 
system, nor any theories which were incontrovertible. 
They had simply speculated, and the world ridiculed 
their speculations. They were one-sided ; and, when 
pushed out to their extreme logical sequence, were antag- 
onistic to each other, which had a tendency to produce 
doubt and skepticism. Men denied the existence of the 
gods, and the grounds of certainty fell away from the 
human mind. 

This spirit of skepticism was favored by the tid^ of 
worldliness and prosperity which followed the circum- 
Persian War. Athens became a great centre of which fa- 

1P11 T-»T» vored the 

art, or taste, or elegance, and of wealth. Politics sophists. 
absorbed the minds of the people. Glory and splendor were 
followed by corruption of morals and the pursuit of material 

1 Archer Butler in his lecture on the Eleatic school follows closely, and ex- 
pounds clearly, the views of Ritter. 
21 



322 Grecian Philosophy, [Chap. viii. 

pleasures. Philosophy went out of fashion, since it brought 
no outward and tangible good. More scientific studies 
were pursued — those which could be applied to purposes 
of utility and material gains ; even, as in our day, geology, 
chemistry, mechanics, engineering, having reference to the 
practical wants of men, command talent, and lead to certain 
reward. In Athens, rhetoric, mathematics, and natural 
history supplanted rhapsodies and speculations on God and 
Providence. Renown and wealth could only be secured 
by readiness and felicity of speech, and that was most 
valued which brought immediate reward, like eloquence. 
Men began to practice eloquence as an art^ and to employ 
Character of ^^ ^^ furthering their interests. They made spe- 
the Sophists, ^j^^j pleadiugs, since it was their object to gain 
their point, at any expense of law and justice. Hence they 
taught that nothing was immutably right, but only so by 
convention. They imdermined all confidence in truth and 
religion by teaching its uncertainty. They denied to men 
even the capability of arriving at truth. They practically 
affirmed the cold and cynical doctrine that there is nothing 
better for a man than that he should eat and drink. Qui 
hono^ the cry of the Epicureans, of the latter Romans, 
and of most men in a period of great outward pros- 
perity, was the popular inquiry, — who shall show us 
any good ? — how can we become rich, strong, honorable ? 
— this was the spirit of that class of public teachers who 
arose in Athens when art and eloquence and wealth and 
splendor were at their height in the fifth century before 
Christ, and when the elegant Pericles was the leader of 
fashion and of political power. 

These men were the Sophists — rhetorical men who 
Power and taught the children of the rich ; worldly men who 

popularity of , p • i -n* 

theSophists. sought houor and power; irivolous men, triilmg 
with philosophical ideas ; skeptical men, denying all cer- 
tainty to truths ; men who, as teachers, added nothing to 
the realm of science, but who yet established certain dia- 



Chap, vih.] Mission of the Sophists. 323 

lectical rules useful to later philosophers. They were a 
wealthy, powerful, honored class, not much esteemed by 
men of thought, but sought out as very successful teachers 
of rhetoric. They were full of logical tricks, and contrived 
to throw ridicule upon profound inquiries. They taught 
also mathematics, astronomy, philology, and natural history 
with success. They were polished men of society, not pro- 
found nor religious, but very brilliant as talkers, and very 
ready in wit and sophistry. And some of them were men 
of great learning and talent, like Democritus, Leucippus, 
and Gorgias. They were not pretenders and quacks ; 
they were skeptics who denied subjective truths, and la- 
bored for outward advantage. They were men influence of 
of general information, skilled in subtleties, of t^^ sophists, 
powerful social and political connections, and were gener- 
ally selected as ambassadors on difficult missions. They 
taught the art of disputation, and sought systematic meth- 
ods of proof. They thus prepared the way for a more 
perfect philosophy than that taught by the lonians, the 
Pythagoreans, or the Eleat^e, since they showed the 
vagueness of their inquiries, conjectural rather than scien- 
tific. They had no doctrines in common. They were the 
barristers of their age, paid to make the " worse appear 
the better reason," yet not teachers of immorality any 
more than the lawyers of our day, — men of talents, the 
intellectual leaders of society. If they did not advance 
positive truths, they w^ere useful in the method they 
created. They taught the art of disputation. They doubt- 
less quibbled when they had a bad cause to present. They 
brought out the truth more forcibly when they defended a 
good cause. They had no hostility to truth ; they only 
doubted whether it could be reached in the realm of psy- 
chological inquiries, and sought to apply it to their own 
purposes, or rather to distort it in order to gain a case. 
They are not a class of men whom I admire, as I do the 
old sages they ridiculed, but they were not without their 



324 Grecian Philosophy, [Chap. Vlll. 

use in the development of philosophy.^ The Sophists also 
rendered a service to literature by giving definiteness to 
language, and creating style in prose writing. Protagoras 
investigated the principles of accurate composition ; Prodi- 
cus busied himself with inquiries into the significance of 
words ; Gorgias proposed a captivating style. He gave 
symmetry to the structure of sentences. 

The ridicule and skepticism of the Sophists brought out 
the great powers of Socrates, to whom philosophy 
is probably more indebted than to any man who 
ever lived, not so much for a perfect system, but for the 
impulse he gave to philosophical inquiries, and his success- 
ful exposure of error. He inaugurated a new era. Born 
in Athens in the year 470 B. c, the son of a poor sculptor, 
he devoted his life to the search for truth, for its own sake, 
and sought to base it on immutable foundations. He was 
the mortal enemy of the Sophists, whom he encountered, as 
Pascal did the Jesuits, with wit, irony, puzzling questions, 
and remorseless logic. Like the earlier philosophers, he 
disdained wealth, ease, and comfort, but with greater de- 
votion than they, since he lived in a more corrupt age, 
when poverty was a disgrace and misfortune a crime, 
when success was the standard of merit, and every man 
was supposed to be the arbiter of his own fortune, ignoring 
that Providence who so often refuses the race to the swift 
and the battle to the strong. He was what in our time 
would be called eccentric. He walked barefooted, meanly 
clad, and withal not over cleanly, seeking public places, 
disputing with every body willing to talk with him, making 
every body ridiculous, especially if one assumed airs of wis- 
dom or knowledge, — an exasperating opponent, since he 
wove a web around a man from which he could not be extri- 
cated, and then exposed him to ridicule, in the wittiest city 
The method ^^ *^^ world. He attacked every body, and yet 
of Socrates. ^^^ generally respected, since it was errors and 

1 Grote has a fine chapter on the Sophists (part ii. ch. 67). 



Chap. VIII. Socrates. 325 

not the person, opinions rather than vices ; and this he did 
with bewitching eloquence and irresistible fascination ; so 
that, though he was poor and barefooted, a Silenus in ap- 
pearance, with thick lips, upturned nose, projecting eyes, 
unwieldy belly, he was sought by Alcibiades and admired 
by Aspasia. Even Xantippe, a beautiful young woman, 
very much younger than he, a woman fond of the com- 
forts and pleasures of life, was willing to be his wife, even 
if she did afterwards torment him, when the res anyusta 
domi disenchanted her from the music of his voice and the 
divinity of his nature. " I have heard Pericles," said the 
most dissipated and voluptuous man in Athens, " and other 
excellent orators, but was not moved by them ; while this 
Marsyas — this Satyr — so affects me that the life I 
lead is hardly worth living, and I stop my ears, as 
from the Syrens, and flee as fast as possible, that I 
may not sit down and grow old in listening to his 
talk." He learned his philosophy from no one, and 
struck out an entirely new path. He declared his own 
ignorance, and sought to convince other people of theirs. 
He did not seek to reveal truth so much as to expose error. 
And yet it was his object to attain connect ideas as to moral 
obligations. He was the first who recognized natural right, 
and held that virtue and vice are inseparably united. He 
proclaimed the sovereignty of virtue, and the immutability 
of justice. He sought to delineate and enforce the practi- 
cal duties of life. His great object was the elucidation of 
morals, and he was the first to teach ethics sytem- Etwcai m- 
atically, and from the immutable principles of Socrates. 
moral obligation. Moral certitude was the lofty platform 
from which he surveyed the world, and upon which, as a 
rock, he rested in the storms of life. Thus he was a re- 
former and a moralist. It was his ethical doctrines which 
were most antagonistic to the age, and the least appreciated. 
He was a profoundly religious man, recognized Providence, 
and believed in the immortality of the soul. From the 



326 Grecian Philosophy/. [Chap, viil, 

abyss of doubt, which succeeded the speculations of the 
first philosophers, he would plant grounds of certitude — 
a ladder on which he would mount to the sublime reg-ions 
of absolute truth. He did not presume to inquire into the 
Divine essence, yet he believed that the sjods were omnis- 
cient and omnipresent, that they ruled by the law of 
goodness, and that, in spite of their multiplicity, there was 
unity — a supreme intelligence that governed the world. 
Hence he was hated by the Sophists, who denied the cer- 
tainty of arriving at the knowledge of God. From the 
comparative worthlessness of the body he deduced the im- 
mortality of the soul. With him, the end of life was reason 
and intelligence. He proved the existence of God by the 
order and harmony of nature, which belief was certain. 
He endeavored to connect the moral with the religious con- 
sciousness, and then he proclaimed his convictions for the 
practical welfare of society. In this light Socrates stands out 
the grandest personage of pagan antiquity, — as a moralist, 
as a teacher of ethics, as a man who recognized the Divine. 
So far as he was concerned in the development of Gre- 
The mission ^^^^ pliilosophy proper, he was probably inferior 
of Socrates. ^^ somc of his disciplcs. Yet he gave a turning- 
})oint to a new period, when he awakened the idea of 
knowledge, and was the founder of the theory of scientific 
knowledge, since he separated the legitimate bounds of 
inquiry, and was thus the precursor of Bacon and Pascal. 
He did not attempt to make physics explain metaphysics, 
nor metaphysics the phenomena of the natural world. And 
he only reasoned from what was assumed to be true and 
invariable. He was a great pioneer of philosophy, since 
he resorted to inductive methods of proof, and gave general 
definiteness to ideas.^ He gave a new method, and used 
great precision of language. Although he employed in- 
duction, it was his aim to withdraw the mind from the 
contemplation of nature, and to fix it on its own phenomena, 

1 Arist., Metaph., xiii. 4. 



Chap, viil] The Mission of Socrates. 327 

— to look inward rather than outward, as carried out so 
admirably by Plato. The previous philosophers had given 
their attention to external nature ; he gave up speculations 
about material phenomena, and directed his inquiries solely 
to the nature of knowledge. And, as he considered knowl- 
edge to be identical with virtue, he speculated on ethical 
questions mainly, and the method which he taught was 
that by which alone man could become better and wiser. 
To know one's self, in other words, " that the proper study 
of mankind is man," he was the first to proclaim. He did 
not disdain the subjects which chiefly interested the Soph- 
ists, — astronomy, rhetoric, physics ; but he discussed moral 
questions, such as, what is piety ? what is the just and the 
unjust ? what is temperance ? what is courage ? what is the 
character fit for a citizen ? — and such like ethical points, 
'And he discussed them in a peculiar manner, in a method 
peculiarly his own. " Professing ignorance, he put perhaps 
this question — What is law ? It was familiar and was 
answered off-hand. Socrates, having got the answer, then 
put fresh questions applicable to specific cases, to which the 
respondent was compelled to give an answer inconsistent 
with the first, thus showing that the definition was too nar- 
row or too wide, or defective in some essential condition.^ 
The respondent then amended his answer ; but this was a 
prelude to other questions, which could only be answered 
in ways inconsistent with the amendment ; and the respond- 
ent, after many attempts to disentangle himself, was obliged 
to plead guilty to his inconsistencies, with an admission 
that he could make no satisfactory answer to the original 
inquiry which had at first appeared so easy." Thus, by 
this system of cross-examination, he showed the intimate 
connection between the dialectic method, and the logical 
distribution of particulars into species and genera. The 
discussion first turns upon the meaning of some generic 
term ; the queries bring the answers into collision with 

1 Grote, part ii. ch. 68. 



328 G-recian Philosophy. [Chap. viil. 

various particulars which it ought not to comprehend, or 
which it ought to comprehend, but does not. He broke 
up the one into many by his analytical string of questions, 
which was a novel mode of argument. This was the 
method which he invented, and by which he separated real 
knowledge from the conceit of knowledge, and led to pre- 
cision in the use of definitions. It was thus that he exposed 
the false, without aimhig even to teach the true ; for he 
generally professed ignorance, and put himself , in the atti- 
tude of a learner, while he made by his cross-examinations 
the man from whom he apparently sought knowledge to 
be as ignorant as himself, or, still worse, absolutely ridicu- 
lous. Thus he pulled away all the foundations on which a 
false science had been erected, and indicated the way by 
which alone the true could be established. Here he was 
not unlike Bacon, who pointed out the way that science 
could be advanced, without founding any school or advo- 
cating any system ; but he was unlike Bacon in the object 
of his inquiries. Bacon was disgusted with ineffective 
logical speculations, and Socrates with ineffective physical 
researches.^ He never suffered a general term to remain 
undetermined, but applied it at once to particulars, and by 
questions the purport of which was not comprehended. It 
was not by positive teaching, but by exciting scientific im- 
pulse in the minds of others, or stirring up the analytical 
faculties, which constitute his originality. " The Socratic 
dialectics, clearing away," says Grote,^ " from the mind its 
mist of fancied knowledge, and, laying bare the real igno- 
rance, produced an immediate effect like the touch of 
the torpedo ; the newly created consciousness of ignorance 
was humiliating and painful, yet it was combined with a 
yearning after truth never before experienced. Such intel- 
lectual quickening, which could never commence until the 
mind had been disabused of its original illusion of false 

1 Archer Butler, s. i. 1. vii. 

2 Grote, part ii. ch. 68 ; Maurice, Ancient Philoscfpliy, p. 119. 



Chap. VIII.] The Socratic Dialectics. 329 

knowledge, was considered by Socrates not merely as the 
index and precursor, but as the indisputable condition of 
future progress." It was the aim of Socrates to The great 
force the seekers after truth into the path of in- socraSc^^ 
ductive generalization, whereby alone trustworthy ^^'^°<^- 
conclusions could be formed. He thus improved the 
method of speculative minds, and struck out from other 
minds that fire which sets light to original thought and 
stimulates analytical inquiry. He was a religious and in- 
tellectual missionary preparing the way for the Platos and 
Aristotles of the succeeding age by his severe dialectics. 
This was his mission, and he declared it by talking. He 
did not lecture ; he conversed. For more than thirty 
years he discoursed on the principles of morality, until he 
arrayed against himself enemies who caused him to be put 
to death, for his teachings had undermined the popular 
system which the Sophists accepted and practiced. He 
probably might have been acquitted if he had chosen it, but 
he did not wish to live after his powers of usefulness had 
passed away. He opened to science new matter and a new 
method, as a basis for future philosophical systems. He 
w^as a " colloquial dialectician," such as this world has 
never seen, and may never see again. He was a skeptic 
respecting physics, but as far as man and society are con- 
cerned, he thought that every man might and ought to 
know what justice, temperance, courage, piety, patriotism, 
etc., were, and unless he did know what they were he 
would not be just, temperate, etc. He denied that men 
can know that on which they have bestowed no pains, or 
practice what they do not know. " The method of Soc- 
rates survives still in some of the dialogues of Plato, and 
is a process of eternal value and universal application. 
There is no man whose notions have not been first got 
together by spontaneous, unartificial associations, resting 
upon forgotten particulars, blending together disparities 
or inconsistencies, and having in his mind old and familiar 



330 G-reeian Philosophy. [Chap. vm. 

phrases and oracular propositions of which he has never 
rendered to himself an account ; and there is no man who 
has not found it a necessary branch of self-education to 
break up, analyze, and reconstruct these ancient mental 
compounds." ^ The services which he rendered to philoso- 
phy, as enumerated by Tennemann,^ "are twofold, — neg- 
ative and positive : Negative^ inasmuch as he avoided all 
vain discussions ; combated mere speculative reasoning on 
substantial grounds, and had the wisdom to acknowledge 
ignorance when necessary, but without attertipting to de- 
termine accurately what is capable, and what is not, of 
being accurately known. Positive^ inasmuch as he ex- 
amined wnth great ability the ground directly submitted to 
our understanding, and of which man is the centre." 

Socrates cannot be said to have founded a school, like 
Xenophanes. He did not bequeath a system of doctrines ; 
lie rather attempted to awaken inquiry, for which his 
method was admirably adapted. He had his admirers, 
who followed in the path which he suggested. Among 
these were Aristippus, Antisthenes, Euclid of Megara, 
Phsedo of Elis, and Plato, all of" whom were disciples of 
Socrates, and founders of schools. Some only partially 
adopted his method, and all differed from each other. 
Nor can it be said that all of them advanced science. Ar- 
istippus, the founder of the Cyreniac School, was a sort 
of Epicurean, teaching that pleasure was the end of life. 
Antisthenes, the founder of the Cynics, was both virtuous 
and arrogant, placing the supreme good in virtue, but de- 
spising speculative science, and maintaining that no man 
can refute the opinions of another. He made it a virtue to 

1 Grote has written very ably, and at unusual length, respecting Socrates and 
his philosophy. Thirl wall has also reviewed Hegel and other German authors on 
Socrates' condemnation. Kitter has a full chapter of great value. See Donald- 
son's continuation of Miiller. The original sources of knowledge respecting Soc- 
rates are found chiefly iu Plato and Xenophon. Cicero may be consulted in his 
Tusculan Questions. 

2 Tennemann; Schliermacker, Essay on the Worth of Socrates as a Philosopher^ 
translated by Bishop Thirlwall, and reprinted in Dr. Wigger's Life of Socrates, 



Chap, viil] Plato. 331 

be ragged, hungry, and cold, like the ancient monks ; an 
austere, stern, bitter, reproachful man, who affected to 
despise all pleasures, like his own disciple Diogenes, who 
lived in a tub, and carried on a war between the mind and 
body — brutal, scornful, proud. To men who maintained 
that science was impossible, philosophy is not much in- 
debted, although they were disciples of Socrates. Euclid 
merely gave a new edition of the Eleatic doctrines, and 
Phaedo speculated on the oneness of the good. 

It was not till Plato arose that a more complete system 
of philosophy was founded. He was born of 

^ ^ / Plato. 

noble Athenian parents b. c. 429, the year that 
Pericles died, and the second year of the Peloponnesian 
War, and the most active period of Grecian thought. He 
had a severe education, studying poetry, music, rhetoric, 
and blending these with philosophy. He was only 
twenty when he found out Socrates, with whom he re- 
mained ten years, and from whom he was separated only 
by death. He then went on his travels, visiting niseduca- 
every thing worth seeing in his day, especially in travels. 
Egypt. When he returned, he commenced to teach the 
doctrines of his master, which he did, like him, gratui- 
tously, in a garden near Athens, planted with lofty plane- 
trees, and adorned with temples and statues. This was 
called the Academy, and gave a name to his system of 
philosophy. And it is this only with which we have to do. 
It is not the calm, serious, meditative, isolated man that I 
would present, but his contribution to the developments of 
philosophy on the principles of his master. And surely no 
man ever made a richer contribution. He may not have 
had the originality or breadth of Socrates, but he was more 
profound. He w^as preeminently a great thinker — a great 
logician — skilled in dialectics, and his " Dialogues " are 
such exercises of dialectical method that the ancients were 
divided whether he was a skeptic or a dogma- He adopts 
tist. He adopted the Socratic method, and en- method!* ^'^ 



332 G-recian Philosophy. [Chap. vill. 

larged it. " Socrates relied on inductive reasoning, and on 
definitions, as the two principles of investigation. Defi- 
nitions form the basis of all philosophy. To know a thing, 
you must know what it is not. Plato added a more effi- 
cient process of analysis and synthesis, of generalization 
and classification." ^ " Analysis," continues the same 
author, " as insisted on by Plato, is the decomposition of 
the whole into its separate parts — is seeing the one in 
many. Definitions were to Plato, what general or abstract 
ideas were to later metaphysicians. The individual thing 
was transitory ; the abstract idea was eternal. Only con- 
cerning the latter could philosophy occupy itself. Socrates, 
insisting on proper definitions, had no conception of the 
classification of those definitions which must constitute 
philosophy. Plato, by the introduction of this process, 
shifted philosophy from the ground of inquiries into man 
and society, which exclusively occupied Socrates, to that 
of dialectics." Plato was also distinguished for skill in 
composition. Dionysius of Halicarnassus classes him with 
Herodotus and Demosthenes in the perfection of his style, 
which is characterized by great harmony and rhythm, as 
well as the variety of elegant figures.^ 

Plato made philosophy to consist in the discussion 
His doc- ^^ general terms, or abstract ideas. General 
tnnes. tcrms wcre synonymous with real existences, 

and these were the only objects of philosophy. These 
were called Ideas ; and ideas are the basis of his system, 
or rather the subject matter of dialectics. He was a Real- 
ist, that is, he maintained that every general term, or ab- 
stract idea, has a real and independent existence. Here he 
probably was indebted to Pythagoras, for Plato was a mas- 
ter of the whole realm of philosophical speculation ; but 
his conception of ideas is a great advance on the concep- 
tion of numbers. He was taught by Socrates that beyond 

1 Lewes, Bioq. IJisi. of Philos. 

2 See Donaldson's quotations, Hi$z. Lit. of Greece, vol. ii. p. 257. 



Chap, viil] Philosopliy of Plato, . 333 

this world of sense, there was the world of eternal truth, 
and that there were certain principles concerning which 
there could be no dispute. The soul apprehends the idea 
of goodness, greatness, etc. It is in the celestial world 
that we are to find the realm of ideas. Now God is the 
supreme idea. To know God should be the great aim of 
life. We know him bv the desire which like feels for like. 
The divinity within feels for the divinity revealed in 
beauty, or any other abstract idea. The longing of the 
soul for beauty is Love. Love then is the bond which 
unites the human to the divine. Beauty is not revealed 
by harmonious outlines which appeal to the senses, but is 
Truth. It is divinity. Beauty, truth, love, these are God, 
the supreme desire of the soul to comprehend, and by the 
contemplation of which the mortal soul sustains itself, and 
by perpetual meditation becomes participant in immortality. 
The communion with God presupposes immortality. The 
search for the knowledge of God is the great end of life. 
Wisdom is the consecration of the soul to the search ; and 
this is effected by dialectics, for only out of dialectics can 
correct knowledo-e come. But man, immersed in the flux 
of sensualities, can never fully attain this high excel- 
lence — the knowledge of God, the object of all rational 
inquiry. Hence the imperfection of all human knowledge. 
The supreme good is attainable ; it is not attained. God 
is the immutable good, and justice the rule of the uni- 
verse. " The vital principle of his philosophy is to show 
that true science is the knowledge of the good ; The end of 
is the eternal contemplation of truth, or ideas ; the contem- 
and though man may not be able to apprehend it truth. 
in its unity, because he is subject to the restraints of the 
body, he is, nevertheless, permitted to recognize it, imper- 
fectly, by calling to mind the eternal measure of existence, 
by which he is in his origin connected." ^ He was unable 
to find a transition from his world of ideas to that of sense, 

1 Ritter, Hist, of Phil., b. viii. p. 2, chap. i. 



334 Grecian Philosophy, [Chap, vin 

and liis philosophy, vague and mystical, though severely 
logical, diverts the mind from the investigations of actual 
life — from that which is the object of experience. 

The writings of Plato have come down to us complete. 
The object and liave been admired by all as^es for their 

of Plato's 1 .1 1 • 1 " n 1 

iuquiries. philosoplucal acutcncss, as well as beauty of lan- 
o;uao;e. He was not the first to use the form of dialocrue, 
but he handled it with greater mastery than any one who 
preceded him, or has come after him, and all with a view 
to bring his hearers to a consciousness of knowledge or ig- 
norance. He regarded wisdom as the attribute of the sod- 
head ; that philosophy is the necessity of the intellectual 
man, and the greatest good to which he can attain. This 
wisdom presupposes, however, a communion with the di- 
vine. He regarded the soul as immortal and indestructi- 
ble. He maintained that neither happiness nor virtue can 
consist in the attempt to satisfy our unbridled desires ; that 
virtue is purely a matter of intelligence ; that passions dis- 
turb the moral economy. 

" When we review the doctrines of Plato, it is impossi- 
ble to deny," says Ritter, " that they are pervaded with a 
grand view of life and the universe. This is the noble 
God the im- thouglit wliicli iuspircd him to say, that God is 
good. the constant and immutable good ; the world is 

good in a state of becoming, and the human soul that in 
and through which the good in the world is to be consum- 
mated. In his sublimer conception, he shows himself the 
worthy disciple of Socrates. His merit lies chiefly in hav- 
ing advanced certain distinct and precise rules for the 
Socratic method, and in insisting, with a perfect conscious- 
ness of its importance, upon the law of science, that to be 
able to descend from the higher to the lower ideas by a 
principle of the reason, and reciprocally from the multi- 
plicity of the lower to the higher, is indispensable to the 
perfect possession of any knowledge. He thus imparted to 
this method a more liberal character. While he adopted 



Chap. VIII.] Estimate of Archer Butler 335 

many of the opinions of his predecessors, and gave due con- 
sideration to the results of the earher philosophy, he did 
not allow himself to be disturbed by the mass of conflicting 
theories, but breathed into them the life-giving breath of 
unity. He may have erred in his attempts to determine 
the nature of good; still he pointed out to all who aspire 
to a knowledge of the divine nature, an excellent road 
by which they may arrive at it." 

Plato is very much admired by the Germans, who look 
upon him as the incarnation of dialectical power ; but it 
were to be hoped that, some day, these great metaphysi- 
cians may make a clearer exposition of his doctrines, and 
of his services to philosophy, than they have as yet done. 
To me, Ritter, Brandis, and all the great authorities, are 
obscure. But that Plato was one of the greatest lights of 
the ancient world, there can be no reasonable doubt. Nor 
is it probable that, as a dialectician, he has ever been sur- 
passed ; while his purity of life, and his lofty inquiries, and 
his belief in God and immortality, make him, in an ethical 
point of view, the most worthy of the disciples of Socrates. 
He was to the Greeks what Kant was to the Germans, and 
these two great thinkers resemble each other in the struct- 
ure of their minds and their relations to society. 

The ablest part of the lectures of Archer Butler of 
Dublin, is devoted to the Platonic philosophy. It is a 
criticism and an eulogium. No modern writer has written 
more enthusiastically of what he considers the crowning 
excellence of the Greek philosophy. The dialectics of 
Plato, his ideal theory, his physics, his psychology, and his 
ethics, are most ably discussed, and in the spirit of a loving 
and eloquent disciple. He represents the philosophy which 
he so much admires as a contemplation of, and the ten- 
dency to, the absolute and eternal good. The good is en- 
throned by Plato in majesty supreme at the summit of the 
whole universe, and the sensible world is regarded as a 
development of supreme perfection in an inferior and tran- 



336 Gi^eoian Philosophy, [Chap. VIII. 

sitory torm. Nor are Ideas abstractions, as some suppose, 
but archetypal conceptions of the divine mind itself — the 
eternal laws and reasons of things. The sensible world is 
regarded as an imperfect image of ideal perfection, yet the 
uncertainty of physical researches is candidly admitted. 
The discovery of theological and moral truth, is the great 
object even of the " TimceusJ^ Hence the physics of Plato 
have a theoloo-Ical character — are mathematical rather 
than experimental. The psychology represents tlie body as 
the prison of the soul, somewhat after the spirit of ori- 
ental theogonists, and the aim of virtue Is to preserve the 
distinctness of both, and realize liberty in bonds. The 
doctrine of preexistence is maintained, as well as a future 
state. In the ethics, the perfection of the human soul — the 
perfection which it may attain — is distinctly unfolded, and 
also the unity of the great ideas of the beautiful, just, and 
good. The '•^Phcedo " enforces the supremacy of wisdom, 
and the '•'•Philebus " the " summum honum.^"^ Love is the 
aspiration after a communion with perfection. The chief 
excellence of the philosophy which Plato taught, consists 
In the immutable basis assigned to the principles of moral 
truth ; the defects are a want of distinct apprehension of 
the claims of divine justice In consequence of human sin, 
and an indirect discouragement of active virtue. 

The great disciple of Plato was Aristotle, and he car- 
ried on the philosophical movement which Socrjttes had 
started to the highest limit that it ever reached in the an- 
cient world. He was born at Stagira b. c. 384, of wealthy 
parents, and early evinced an insatiable thirst for knowl- 
edge. When Plato returned from Sicily he joined his 
disciples, and was his pupil for seventeen years, at Athens, 
On the death of Plato, he went on his travels, and became 
the tutor of Alexander the Great, and b. c. 335, returned 
to Athens, after an absence of twelve years, and set up a 
school, and taught in the Lyceum. He taught while walk- 
ing up and down the shady walks which surrounded it. 



Chap, viil] Philosophy of Aristotle, 337 

from which he obtained the name of Peripatetic, which has 
clung to his name and philosophy. His school had a great 
celebrity, and from it proceeded illustrious philosophers, 
statesmen, historians, and orators. He taught thirteen 
years, during whic he composed most of his greater 
works. He not only wrote on dialectics and logic, but also 
on physics in its various departments. His work on " The 
History of Animals " was deemed so important that his royal 
pupil presented him with eight hundred talents — an enor- 
mous sum — for the collection of materials. He also wrote 
on ethics and politics, history and rhetoric ; letters, poems, 
and speeches, three fourths of which are lost. He was 
one of the most voluminous writers of antiquity, and prob- 
ably the most learned man whose writings have come 
down to us. Nor has any one of the ancients exercised 
upon the thinking of succeeding ages so great an influence. 
He was an oracle until the revival of learning. 

" Aristotle," says Hegel, " penetrated into the whole 
mass, and into every department of the universe Genius of 
of things, and subjected to the comprehension its ■^^^•'5*<'*^®- 
scattered wealth ; and the greater number of the philo 
sophical sciences owe to him their separation and com- 
mencement." ^ He is also the father of the history of 
philosophy, since he gives an historical review of the way 
in which the subject has been hitherto treated by the ear- 
lier philosophers. 

" Plato made the external world the region of the incom-^ 
plete and bad, of the contradictory and the false, and rec- 
ognized absolute truth only in the eternal immutable ideas. 
Aristotle laid down the proposition that the idea, which 
cannot of itself fashion itself into reality, is powerless, and 
has only a potential existence, and that it becomes a living 
reality, only by realizing itself in a creative manner by 
means of its own energy." ^ 

1 Hegel is said to have comprehended Aristotle better than any modern writer, 
and the best work on his philosophy is by him. 
^ Adolph Stahr, Oldenburg. 
22 



338 Grecian Philosophy, [Chap. vm. 

But there can be no doubt as to his marvelous power of 
Vast attain- svstematization. Collecting: together all the re- 

mentsof \ n . i-iii ti 

Aristotle. sults 01 aucicnt Speculation, he so elaborated them 
into a coordinate system, that for two thousand years he 
reigned supreme in the school's. In a literary point of 
view, Plato was doubtless his superior, but Plato was a poet 
making philosophy divine and musical ; but Aristotle's in- 
vestigations spread over a far wider range. He wrote also 
on politics, natural history, and ethics, in so comprehensive 
and able manner, as to prove his claim to be one of the 
greatest intellects of antiquity, the most subtle and the 
most patient. He differed from Plato chiefly in relation to 
the doctrine of ideas, without however resolving the diffi- 
culty which divided them. As he made matter to be the 
eternal ground of phenomena, he reduced the notion of it 
to a precision it never before enjoyed, and established 
thereby a necessary element in human science. But being 
bound to matter, he did not soar, as Plato did, into the 
higher regions of speculation ; nor did he entertain as lofty 
views of God, or of immortality. Neither did he have as 
high an ideal of human life. His definition of the highest 
good was a perfect practical activity in a perfect life. 

A¥ith Aristotle closed the great Socratic movement in 
the history of speculation. When Socrates appeared there 
was the general prevalence of skepticism, arising from the 
unsatisfactory speculations respecting nature. He removed 
this skepticism by inventing a new method, and by with- 
drawing the mind from the contemplation of nature, to 
the study of man himself. He bade men to look in- 
ward. 

Plato accepted his method, but applied it more univer- 
Ethicsthe sally. Like Socrates, however, ethics were the 

great sub- " .. p,.. .. i*i i 

jectofin- great subject or his inquiries, to which physics 
I'lato. were only subordinate. The problem he sought 

to solve was the way to live like the gods. He would 
contemplate truth as the great aim of life. 



1 ■ \ 



Chap. VIII.] Doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, 389 

With Aristotle, ethics formed only one branch of his 
attention. His main inquiries were in reference Mainin- 

, . -r-p 1 1 • quiries of 

to physics and metaphysics. He thus, by brmg- Aristotle 
ins these into the region of inquiry, paved the ence to 

'^ ^ . . physics and 

way for a new epoch of skepticism.^ metaphysics. 

It is impossible, within the proper limits of this chapter, 
to enter upon an analysis of the philosophy of either the 
three great lights of the ancient world, or to enumerate and 
describe their other writings. I merely wish to show what 
are considered to be the vital principles on which their sys- 
tems were based, and the general spirit of their specula- 
tions. The student must examine these in the elaborate 
treatises of modern philosophers, and in the original works 
of Plato and Aristotle. 

Both Plato and Aristotle taught that reason alone could 
form science ; but Aristotle differed from his Their char- 
master respecting the theory of ideas. He did inquiries. 
not deny to ideas a subjective existence, but he did deny 
that they have an objective existence. And he maintained 
that the individual things alone existed^ and if individuals 
only exist, they can only be known by sensation. Sensa- 
tion thus becomes the basis of knowledge. Plato made 
reason the basis of knowledge, but Aristotle made experi- 
ence. Plato directed man to the contemplation of ideas ; 
Aristotle, to the observations of Nature. Instead of pro- 
ceeding synthetically and dialectically like Plato, he pur- 
sues an analytic course. His method is hence inductive — 
the derivation of certain principles from a sum of given 
facts and phenomena. It would seem that positive science 
commenced with him, since he maintained that experience 
furnishes the principles of every science ; but, while his 
conception was just, there was not sufficient experience 
then accumulated from which to generalize with effect. 
He did not sufficiently verify his premises. His reasoning 

1 Lewes. Bitter, Hegel, Maurice, Diogenes Laertius. See fine article in Ency- 
clopedia Britannica. Schwegler, translated by Seelj'n. 



?40 Grecian Philosophy. [Chap. vm. 

was correct upon the data given, as in the famous syllogism, 
" All black birds are crows ; this bird is black ; therefore 
this bird is a crow." The defect of the syllogism is not in 
the reasoning, but in the truth of the major premise, since 
all black birds are not crows. It is only a most extensive 
and exhaustive examination of the accuracy of a })roposi- 
tion which will warrant reasoning upon it. Aristotle rea- 
soned without sufficient examination of the major premise 
of his syllogisms. 

Aristotle was the father of logic, and Hegel and Kant 
Lo<ricof think there has been no improvement upon it 
Aristotle. siucc his day. And this became to him the real 
organon of science. " He supposed it was not mei^ely the 
instrument of thought, but the instrument of investiga- 
tion." Hence it was futile for purposes of discovery, 
although important to aid the processes of thought. In- 
duction and syllogism are the two great instruments of his 
logic. The one sets out from particulars already known to 
arrive at a conclusion ; the other sets out from some gen- 
eral principle to arrive at particulars. The latter more 
particularly characterized his logic, which he presented in 
sixteen forms, showing great ingenuity, and useful ' as a 
dialectical exercise. This syllogistic process of reasoning 
would be incontrovertible, if the general were better known 
than the 2:>articular, But it is only by induction, which 
proceeds from the world of experience, that we reach the 
higher world of cognition. We arrive at no new knowl- 
edge by the syllogism, since the major premise is more 
evident than the conclusion, and anterior to it. Thus he 
made speculation subordinate to logical distinctions, and 
his system, when carried out by the schoolmen, led to a 
spirit of useless quibbling. Instead of interrogating Na- 
ture, as Bacon led the way, they interrogated their own 
minds, and no great discoveries were made. From a want 
of a proper knowledge of the conditions of scientific in- 
quiry, the method of Aristotle became fruitless.^ 

1 Maurice, Anc. Phil. See Whewell, Hist. Ind. Science. 



Chap, viil] The Skeptics, 341 

Though Aristotle wrote in a methodical manner, yet 
there is great parsimony of language. There is no fasci- 
nation in his style. It is without ornament, and very 
condensed. His merit consisted in great logical precision, 
and scrupulous exactness in the employment of terms. 

Philosophy, as a great system of dialectics, as an analy- 
sis of the power and faculties of the mind, as a method to 
pursue inquiries, as an intellectual system merely, culmi- 
nated in Aristotle. He • completed the great fabric of 
which Thales laid the foundation. The subsequent schools 
of philosophy directed attention to ethical and practical 
questions, rather than to intellectual phenomena. The 
skeptics, like Pyrrho, had only negative doc- 

. 1 1 1 T 1 . n 1 . . . 1.1 TheSkeptics. 

trmes, ana had a disdam or those inquiries winch 
sought to penetrate the mysteries of existence. They did 
not believe that absolute truth was attainable by man. 
And they attacked the prevailing systems with great plau- 
sibility. Thus Sextus attacked both induction and defini- 
tions. " If we do not know the thing we define," said he, 
" we do not comprehend it because of the definition, but 
we impose on it the definition because we know it ; and if 
we ai'e ignorant of the thing we would define, it is impos- 
sible to define it." Thus the skeptics pointed out the 
uncertainty of things and the folly of striving to compre- 
hend them. 

The Epicureans despised the investigations of philosophy, 
since, in their view, they did not contribute to happiness. 
The subject of their inquiries was happiness, not truth. 
What will promote this, was the subject of their specula- 
tion. Epicurus, born b. c. 342, contended that pleasure 
was happiness ; that pleasure should not be sought for its 
own sake, but with a view of the happiness of life obtained 
by it. He taught that it was inseparable from virtue, and 
that its enjoyments should be limited. He was averse to 
costly pleasures, and regarded contentedness with a little 
to be a great good. He placed wealth not in great posses- 



3 i2 Grecian Philosophy. [Chap. viii. 

sions, but few wants. He sought to widen the domain of 
pleasure, and narrow that of pain, and regarded a passion- 
less state of life the highest. Nor did he dread death, 
which was deliverance from misery. Epicurus has been 
much misunderstood, and his doctrines were subsequently 
perverted, especially when the arts of life were brought 
into the service of luxury, and a gross materialism was the 
great feature of society. Epicurus had much of the prac- 
tical spirit of a philosopher, although very little of the 
earnest cravino-s of a relimous man. He himself led a 
virtuous life, because it was wiser and better to be virtu- 
ous, not because it was his duty. His writings were very 
voluminous, and in his tranquil garden he led a peaceful 
life of study and enjoyment. His followers, and they were 
numerous, were led into luxury and effeminacy, as was to 
be expected from a skeptical and irreligious philosoph}^ 
the great principle of which was that whatever is pleasant 
should be the object of existence.-^ 

The Stoics were a large and celebrated sect of philos- 
ophers ; but they added nothing to the domain of thought, 
— they created no system, they invented no new method, 
they were led into no new psychological inquiries. Their 
inquiries were chiefly ethical. And if ethics are a part of 
the great system of Grecian philosophy, they are well 
worthy of attention. Some of the greatest men of antiq- 
uity are numbered among them — like Seneca and Mar- 
cus Aurelius. The philosophy they taught was morality, 
and this was eminently practical and also elevated. 

The founder of this sect, Zeno, born rich, but reduced 
to poverty by misfortune, was a very remarkable 
man, and a very good one, and profoundly re- 
vered by the Athenians, who intrusted him with the keys 
of their citadel. The date of his birth is unknown, but he 
lived in a degenerate age, when skepticism and sensuality 
were eating out the life and vigor of Grecian society, 
1 The doctrines of the Epicureans are best set forth in Lucretius. 



Chap. VIII.] Doctrines of the Stoics. 343 

when Greek civilization was rapidly passing away, when 
ancient creeds had lost their majesty, and general levity 
and folly overspread the land. Deeply impressed with the 
prevailing laxity of morals and the absence of religion, he 
lifted up his voice, more as a reformer than as an inquirer 
after truth, and taught for more than fifty years in a place 
called the Porch, which had once been the resort of the 
})oets. He was chiefly absorbed with ethical questions, 
although he studied profoundly the systems of the old 
j)hilosophers. He combated Plato's doctrine that virtue 
consists in contemplation, and of Epicurus, that it consisted 
in pleasure. Man, in his eyes, was made for active duties. 
He also sought to oppose skepticism, which was casting the 
funereal veil of doubt and uncertainty over every thing 
pertaining to the soul, and God, and the future life. '' The 
skeptics had attacked both perception and reason. They 
had shown that perception is, after all, based upon appear- 
ance, and appearance is not a certainty ; and they showed 
that reason is unable to distinguish between appearance 
and certainty, since it had nothing but phenomena to 
build upon, and since there is no criterion to apply to rea- 
son itself." Then they proclaimed philosophy a failure, 
and without foundation. But he, taking a stand on com- 
mon sense, fought for morality, as did Reid and Beattie, 
when they combated the skepticism of Hume. 

Philosophy, according to Zeno and other Stoics, was 
intimately connected with the duties of practical Doctrines of 
life. The contemplation, recommended by Plato *^e**oics. 
and Aristotle, seemed only a covert recommendation of 
selfish enjoyment. The wisdom, which it should be the 
aim of life to attain, is virtue. And virtue is to live har- 
moniously with nature. To live harmoniously with nature 
is to exclude all personal ends. Hence pleasure is to be 
disregarded, and pain is to be despised. And as all moral 
action must be in harmony with nature, the law of destiny 
is supreme, and all things move according to immutable 



344 Grecian Philosojyliy. [Chap. VIII. 

fate. With the predominant tendency to the universal 
which characterized their system, the Stoics taught that 
the sage ought to regard himself as a citizen of the world 
rather than of any particular city or state. They made 
four things to be indispensable to virtue : a knowledge 
of good and evil, which is the province of the reason ; 
temperance, a knowledge of the due regulation of the sen- 
sual passions \ fortitude, a conviction that it is good to suffer 
what is necessary ; and justice, or acquaintance with what 
ought to be to every individual. They made perfection 
necessary to virtue, and saw nothing virtuous in the mere 
advance to it. Hence the severity of their sj'stem. The 
Influence of P^'i^f^ct sagc, accordiug to them, is raised above 
the stoics. ^11 influence of external events; he submits to 
the law of destiny ; he is exempt from desire and fear, joy 
or sorrow ; he is not governed even by wdiat he is ex- 
posed to necessarily, like sorrow and pain ; he is free 
from the restraints of passion ; he is like a god in his 
mental placidity. Nor must the sage live only for him- 
self, but for others ; he is a member of the whole body 
of mankind ; he ought to marry, and to take part in public 
affairs, but he will never give way to compassion or forgive- 
ness, and is to attack error and vice with uncompromising 
sternness. But with this ideal, the Stoics w^ere forced to 
admit that virtue, like true knowledge, although attainable, 
is beyond the reach of man. They were discontented with 
themselves, and with all around them, and looked upon all 
institutions as corrupt. They had a profound contempt of 
their age, and of human attainments ; but it cannot be de- 
nied they practiced a lofty and stern virtue, and were the 
best people in their degenerate times. Their God was 
made subject to Fate, and he was a material god, synony- 
mous with Nature. Thus their system was pantheistic. 
But they maintained the dignity of reason, and the ideal 
in nature, the actualization of which we should strive after, 
though without the hope of reaching it. " As a reaction 



/ 



Chap. VIII.] Summary of Grecian Speculation, 345 

against effeminacy, Stoicism may be applauded ; as a doc- 
trine, it is one-sided, and ends in apathy and egotism." ^ 

With tlie Stoics ended all inquiry among the Greeks 
of a philosophical nature worthy of especial mention, until 
philosophy was revived in the Christian schools of Alexan- 
dria, where faith was united with reason. The Stoics 
endeavored to establish the certitude of human knowledcre 
in order that they might establish the truth of moral prin- 
ciples, and the basis of their system was common sense, 
with which they attacked the godless skepticism of their 
times, and raised up a barrier, feeble though it was, to pre- 
vailing degeneracy. The struggles of so many great think- 
ers, from Thales to Aristotle, all ended in doubt and in 
despair. It was discovered that all of them were wrong, 
but that their error was without a remedy. 

The bright and glorious period of Grecian philosophy was 
from Socrates to Aristotle. Philosophical in- bright 
quiries began about the origin of things, and cTJcilu^ 
ended with an elaborate systematlzation of the P^i^^sophy. 
forms of thought, which was the most magnificent triumph 
that the unaided intellect of man ever achieved. Socrates 
founds a school, but does not elaborate a system. He re- 
veals most precious truths, and stimulates the youth who 
listen to his instructions by the doctrine that it is the duty 
of man to pursue a knowledge of himself, which is to be 
sought in that divine reason which dwells within him and 
which also rules the world. He confides in science ; he 
loves truth for its own sake ; he loves virtue, which con- 
sists in the knowledo;e of the o-ood. 

Plato seizes his weapons and is imbued with his spirit. 
He is full of hope for science and humanity. 

"vxr* 1 • 111 1 T !•• •• Summary. 

With soarnig boldness he du'ects his inquiries to 
futurity, dissatisfied with the present, and cherishing a fond 
hope of a better existence. He speculates on God and the 

1 See Cicero, De Fin. and Tmculan Questions ; Diogenes Laertius on Zeno. 
This historian is quite full on this subject, and seems to furnish the basis for 
Eitt«r. 



346 Grecian Pltilosophy. [Chap. VIIL 

soul. He is not much interested in physical phenomena. 
He does not, like Thales, strive to find out the beginning 
of all things, but the highest good, bj which his immortal 
soul may be refreshed and prepared for the future life he 
cannot solve, yet in which he believes. The sensible is an 
impenetrable empire, but ideas are certitudes, and upon 
these he dwells with rapt and mystical enthusiasm, — a 
great poetical rhapsodist like Xenophanes, severe dialecti- 
cian as he is, believing in truth and beauty and goodness. 

Then Aristotle, following out the method of Ms teachers, 
attempts to exhaust experience, and directs his inquiries 
into the outward world of sense and observation, but all 
with the view of discovering from phenomena the uncon- 
ditional truth, in which he, too, believes. But every thing in 
this world is fleeting and transitory, and, therefore, it is not 
easy to arrive at truth. A cold doubt creeps into tlie experi- 
mental mind of Aristotle with all his learnino; and all his loo-ic. 

The Epicureans arise. They place their hopes in sen- 
sual enjoyment. They despair of truth. But the world 
will not be abandoned to despair. The Stoics rebuke the 
impiety which is blended with sensualism, and place their 
hopes on virtue. But it is unattainable virtue, while their 
God is not a moral governor, but subject to necessity. 

Thus did those old giants grope about, for they did not 
know the God who was revealed unto Abraham, and Mo- 
ses, and David, and Isaiah. They solved nothing, since 
they did not know, even if they speculated on, the Great 
First Cause. And yet, with all their errors, they were the 
greatest benefactors of the ancient world. They gave dig- 
nity to intellectual inquiries, while they set, by their lives, 
examples of a pure morality — not the morality of the gos- 
pel, but the severest virtue practiced by the old guides of 
mankind. 

The Romans added absolutely nothing to the philosophy 
Philosophy of the Greeks. Nor were they much interested 

among the . i ^- • • • t. i i 

Komans. m any speculative mqunnes. It was only the 



Chap. VIII.] Eclecticism of Cicero, 347 

ethical views of the old sashes which had attraction or force 
to them. Thej were too material to love pure subjective 
inquiries. They had conquered the land ; they disdained 
the empire of the air. 

There were, doubtless, students of the Greek philosophy 
among the Romans, perhaps as early as Cato the followers of 
Censor. But there were only two persons of note ^^^ Greeks, 
who wrote philosophy, till the time of Cicero, Aurafanius 
and Rubinus, and these were Epicureans. 

Cicero was the first to systematize the philosophy which 
contributed so greatly to his intellectual culture. 
But even he added nothing. He was only a 
commentator and expositor. Nor did he seek to found a 
system or a school, but merely to influence and instruct 
men of his own rank. He regarded those subjects, which 
had tlie greatest attraction for the Grecian schools, to be 
beyond the power of human cognition, and, therefore, 
looked upon the practical as the proper domain of human 
inquiry. Yet he held logic in great esteem, as furnishing 
rules for methodical investigation. He adopted the doc- 
trine of Socrates as to the pursuit of moral good. He re- 
garded the duties which grow out of the relations of human 
society preferable to the obligations of pursuing scientific re- 
searches. Although a great admirer of Plato and Aristotle, 
he regarded patriotic calls of duty as pai'amount to any study 
of science or philosophy, which he thought was involved 
in doubt. He had a great contempt for knowledge which 
could neither lead to the clear apprehension of certitude, 
nor to practical applications. He thought it impossible to 
arrive at a knowledge of God, or the nature of the soul, 
or the origin of the world. And he thus was led to look 
upon the sensible and the present as of more importance 
than inconclusive inductions, or deductions from a truth 
not satisfactorily established. 

Cicero was an Eclectic, seizing on what was true and clear 
in the ancient systems, and disregarding what was simply a 



848 Grecian Philosophy. [Chap. vm. 

matter of speculation. This is especially seen in liis treatise 
Hiseciecti- " ^^ Finibus Bonorum et Malorum," in which the 
"^™* opinions of all the Grecian schools concerning the 

supreme good are expounded and compared. Nor does he 
hesitate to declare that happiness consists in the cognition 
of nature and science, which is the true source of pleasure 
both to gods and men. Yet these are but hopes, in which 
it does not become us to indulge. It is the actual, the 
real, the practical, which preeminently claims attention ; in 
other words, the knowledge which will but furnish man 
with a guide and rule of life.^ Indeed, the sum of Philos- 
ophy, to the mind of Cicero, is that she is an instructress 
and a comforter. He takes an entirely practical view of 
the end of philosophy, which is to improve the mind, and 
make a man contented and happy. For philosophy as a 
science, — a series of inductions and deductions, — he had 
profound contempt. He also regards the doctrines of 
philosophy as involved in doubt, and even in the consider- 
ation of moral questions he is pursued by the conflict of 
opinions, although, in this department, he is most at home. 
The points he is most anxious to establish are the doctrines 
of God and the soul. These are most fully treated in his 
essay, '' De Natura Deorum," in which he submits the 
doctrines of the Epicureans and the Stoics to the objections 
of the Academy.^ He admits that man is unable to form 
true conceptions of God, but acknowledges the necessity 
of assuming one supreme God as the creator and ruler of 
all things, moving all things, remote from all mortal mix- 
ture, and endued with eternal motion in himself. He 
seems to believe in a divine providence ordering good to 
man ; in the soul's immortality, in free-will, in the dignity 
of human nature, in the dominion of reason, in the re- 
straint of the passions as necessary to virtue, in a life of 
public utility, in an immutable morality, in the imitation 
of the divine. 

1 Dt Fin., V. 6. 2 j)e Xat. I)., iii. 10. 



Chap, viil] Upicfetus. 349 

The doctrines of Cicero on ethical subjects, are chiefly 
drawn from the Stoics and Peripatetics. They are 

. . I . p " , His ethics. 

opinions drawn sometimes from one system and 
sometimes from anotlier. Thus he ajxrees with the disci- 
pies of Aristotle, that health, honors, friends, country, are 
worthy objects of desire. Then again, he coincides with 
tlie Stoics that passions and emotions of the soul are yices. 
But he recedes from their severe tone, which elevated the 
sage too high above his fellow- men. 

Thus there is little of original thought in the moral 
theories of Cicero, and these are the result of character of 
observation rather than of any philosophical prin- ^opSj*" 
f'iple. We might enumerate his various opin- '^^"""^''• 
ions, and show what an enlightened mind he possessed ; 
but this would not be the development of philosophy. His 
views, interesting as they are, and generally wise and 
lofty, yet do not indicate any progress of the science. He 
merely repeats earlier doctrines. These were not without 
their utility, since they had great influence on the Latin 
fathers. They Avere esteemed for their general enlighten- 
ment. He softened down the extreme views of the great 
thinkers before his day, and clearly unfolded what had be- 
come obscured. He is a critic of philosophy ; an exposi- 
tor whom we can scarcely spare. 

If any body advanced philosophy among the Romans, it 
was Epictetus, and he even only in the realm of ethics. 
Quintius Sextius, in the time of Augustus, had revived the 
Pvthao-orean doctrines. Seneca had recommended the 
severe morality of the Stoics, but they added nothing that 
was not previously known. The Romans had no talent 
for philosophy, although they were acquainted with its 
various systems. Their greatest light was a Phrygian 
slave. 

Epictetus taught in the time of Domitian, and though 
he did not leave any written treatises, his doc- 
trines were preserved and handed down by his 



350 G-reeian Philosophy, [Chap. vni. 

disciple Arrian, who liad for him the reverence that Plato 
had for Socrates. The loftiness of his recorded views 
makes us feel that he must have been indebted to Chris- 
tianity ; for no one, before him, has revealed precepts so 
much in accordance with its spirit. He was a Stoic, but 
he held in the hio-hest estimation Socrates and Plato. It is 
not for the solution of metaphysical questions that he was 
remarkable. He was not a dialectician, but a moralist, 
and, as such, takes the highest ground of all the old in- 
quirers after truth. With him, philosophy, as it was to 
Cicero and Seneca, is a wisdom of life. He sets no value 
on logic, nor much on physics ; but he reveals sentiments 
of great simplicity and grandeur. His great idea is the 
])urification of the soul. He believes in the severest self- 
denial ; he would guard against the syren spells of pleas- 
ure ; he would make men feel that, in order to be good, 
they must first feel that they are evil ; he condemns 
suicide, although it had been defended by the Stoics ; he 
would complain of no one, not even of injustice ; he would 
not injure his enemies ; he would pardon all offenses ; he 
would feel universal compassion, since men sin from igno- 
rance ; he would not easily blame, since we have none to 
condemn but ourselves ; he would not strive after honor or 
office, since we put ourselves in subjection to that we seek 
uis lofty or prize ; he would constantly bear in mind that 
system. all thiugs are transitory, and that they are not 
our own ; he would bear evils with patience, even as he 
would practice self-denial of pleasure ; he would, in short, 
be calm, \^\\'a^ keep in subjection his passions, avoid self- 
indulgence, and practice a broad charity and benevolence. 
He felt he owed all to God ; that all was his gift, and that 
we should thus live in accordance with his will ; that we 
should be grateful not only for our bodies, but for our 
souls, and reason, by which we attain to greatness. And 
if God has given us such a priceless gift, we should be con- 
tented, and not even seek to alter our external relations, 



Chap, viii.] General Observations. 351 

which are doubtless for the best. We should wish, indeed, 
for only what God wills and sends, and we should avoid 
pride and haughtiness, as w^ell as discontent, and seek to 
fulfill our allotted part.^ 

Such were the moral precepts of Epictetus, in w^hich we 
see the nearest approach to Christianity that Marcus 
had been made in the ancient world. And these ^"^^^^s- 
sublime truths had a great influence, especially on the mind 
of the most lofty and pure of all the Roman emperors, 
Marcus Aurelius, who lived the principles he had learned 
from a slave, and whose " Maxims " are still held in ad- 
miration . 

Thus did the speculations about the beginning of things 
lead to elaborate systems of thought, and end in General 
practical rules of life, until, in spirit, they had, tions. 
with Epictetus, harmonized with many of the revealed 
truths which Christ and his Apostles laid down for the re- 
generation of the world. Who cannot see in the inquiries 
of the old philosopher, whether into nature, or the opera- 
tions of mind, or the existence of God, or the immortality 
of the soul, or the way to happiness and virtue, a magnifi- 
cent triumph of human genius, such as has been exhibited 
in no other department of human science ? We regret 
that our limits preclude a more extended view of the 
various systems which the old sages propounded — systems 
full of errors, yet also marked by important truths, but 
whether false or true, showing a marvelous reach of the 
human understanding. Modern researches have discarded 
many opinions which were highly valued in their day, yet 
philosophy, in its methods of reasoning, is scarcely ad- 
vanced since the time of Aristotle ; while the subjects 
w^hich agitated the Grecian schools, have been from time 
to time revived and rediscussed, and are still unsettled. 
If any science has gone round in perpetual circles, inca- 
pable, apparently, of progression or rest, it is that glorious 

1 A fine translation of Epictetus has been published by Little and Brown. 



352 Grecian Philosophy. [Chap. VIII. 

field of inquiry which has tasked more than any other the 
mightiest intellects of this world, and which, progressive or 
not, will never be relinquished without the loss of what is 
most valuable in human culture. 

For original authorities in reference to the matter of this chapter, 
read Diogenes Laertius' Lives of the Philosophers; the Writings of 
Plato and Aristotle ; Cicero, De Nat., De Or., De Offic, De Div., De 
Fin., Tusc. Quasst. ; Xenophon, Memorabilia ; Boethius, De Idea Hist. 
Phil. ; Lucretius. 

The great modern authorities are the Germans, and these are very- 
numerous. Among the most famous writers on the history of philos- 
ophy, are Bruckner, Hegel, Brandis, I. G. Buhle, Tennemann, Bitter, 
Plessing, Schwegler, Hermann, Meiners, Stallbaum, and Speugel. 
The history of Bitter is well translated, and is always learned and 
suggestive. Tennemann, translated by Morell, is a good manual, brief, 
but clear. In connection with the writings of the Germans, the fjreat 
work of Cousin should be consulted. 

The English historians of ancient philosophy are not so numerous as 
the Germans. The work of Enlield is based on Bruckner, or is rather 
an abridgment. Archer Butler's Lectures are suggestive and able, 
but discursive and vague, as is the History of Ancient Philosophy by 
Maurice. Grote has written learnedlv on Socrates and the other s^reat 
lights. Lewes' Biographical History of Philosophy has the merit of 
clearness, and is very interesting, but rather superficial. Henry has 
written a good epitome. See also Stanley's History of Philosophy, and 
the articles in Smith's Dictionary, on the leading ancient philosophers. 
Donaldson's continuation of Miiller's History of the Lit. of Greece, is 
learned, and should be consulted with Thompson's Notes on Archer 
Butler. There are also fine articles in the Encyclopedias Britannica 
and Metropolitana. Schleirmacher, on Socrates, translated by Bishop 
Thirlwall. 



CHAPTER IX. 

SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE AMONG THE ROMANS. 

It would be absurd to claim for the ancients any great 
attainments in science, such as they made in the field of 
letters or the realm of art. It is in science, especially 
when applied to practical life, that the moderns show their 
great superiority to the most enlightened nations of antiv^|- 
uity. In this great department, modern genius shines 
with the lustre of the sun. It is this which most strikingly 
attests the advance of society, which makes their advance 
a most incontestible fact. It is this which has distinguished 
and elevated the races of Europe more triumphantly than 
what has resulted from the combined energies of Greeks 
and Romans in all other departments combined. With 
the magnificent discoveries and inventions of the last three 
hundred years in almost every department of science, — 
especially in physics, in the explorations of distant seas and 
continents, in the analysis of chemical compounds, in the 
explanation of the phenomena of the heavens, in the 
wonders of steam and electricity, in mechanical appli- 
ance to abridge human labor or destroy human life, in 
astronomical researches, in the miracles which inventive 
genius has wrought, — seen in our ships, our manufactories, 
our wondrous instruments, our printing-presses, wonders of 
our observatories, our fortifications, our labora- scieuce. 
tories, our mills, our machines to cultivate the earth, to 
make our clothes, to build our houses, to multiply our 
means of offense and defense, to make weak children do 

the work of Titans, to measure our time with the accuracy 
23 



354 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans. [Chap. ix. 

of the orbit of the planets, to use the sun Itself in perpetu- 
ating our likenesses to distant generations, to cause a needle 
to guide the mariner with assurance on the darkest night, 
to propel a heavy ship against the wind and tide without 
oars or sails, to make carriages ascend mountains without 
horses at the rate of thirty miles an hour, to convey intelli- 
gence with the speed of lightning from continent to conti- 
nent, under oceans that ancient navigators never dared to 
cross ; these and other wonders attest an ingenuity and 
audacity of intellect which would have overwhelmed with 
amazement the most adventurous of Greeks and the most 
potent of Romans. The achievements of modern science 
settle forever the question as to the advance of society and 
the superiority of modern times over those of the most 
favored nations of antiquity. But the great discoveries 
and inventions to which we owe this marked superiority 
are either accidental or the result of generations of experi- 
ment, assisted by an immense array of ascertained facts 
from which safe inductions can be made. It is not, prob- 
ably, the superiority of the Teutonic races over the Greeks 
and Romans to which we may ascribe the wonderful ad- 
vance of modern society, but the particular direction 
Every great whicli gonius was made to take. Had the Greeks 
guishedfor givcu the energy of their minds to mechanical 

something „ i t i • • • ^ • i 

never after- torces as they did to artistic creations, they might 
equaled. have made wonderful inventions. But it was so 
ordered by Providence. Nor was the world in that stage 
of development when this particular direction of intellect 
would have been favored. There were some things which 
the Greeks and Romans exhausted, some fields of labor 
and thought in which they never have been, and, perliaps, 
never will be, surpassed ; and some future age may direct 
its energies into channels which are as unknown to us as 
clocks and steam-engines were to the Greeks. This is the 
age of mechanism and of science, and mechanism and 
science sweep every thing before them, and will probably 



Chap. IX.] Astronomy among the Ancients, 355 

be carried to their utmost capacity and development. 
Then the human mind may seek some new department, 
some new scope for energies, and a new age of wonders 
may arise, — perhaps after the present dominant races 
shall have become intoxicated with the greatness of their 
triumphs and have shared the fate of the old monarchies 
of the East. But I would not speculate on the destinies 
of the European nations, whether they are to make indefi- 
nite advances, until they occupy and rule the whole world, 
or are destined to be succeeded by nations as yet unde- 
veloped, — savages, as their fathers were when Rome was 
in the fullness of material wealth and grandeur. We know 
nothing of the future. We only know that all nations are 
in the hands of God, who setteth up and pulleth down 
according to his infinite wisdom. 

I have shown that in the field of artistic excellence, in 
literary composition, in the arts of government and legisla- 
tion, and even in the realm of philosophical speculations, 
the ancients were our schoolmasters, and that amono- them 
were some men of most marvelous genius, who have had 
no superiors among us. 

But we do not see the exhibition of o-enius in what we 
call science, at least in its application to practical The ancients 
life. It would be difficult to show any depart- theappUca- 
ment of science which the ancients carried to any science. 
degree of perfection. Nevertheless, there were depart- 
ments in which they made noble attempts, and in which 
they showed considerable genius, even if they were unsuc- 
cessful in great practical results. 

Astronomy was one of these. So far as mathematical 
genius is concerned, so far as astronomy taxed Labors of the 

, . ^ ancients in 

the reasonmg powers, such men as Eratosthenes, astronomy. 
Aristarchus, Hipparchus, and Ptolemy were great lights, 
of whom humanity may be proud ; and, had they been 
assisted by our modern accidental inventions, they might 
have earned a fame scarcely eclipsed by that of Kepler and 



356 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans, [Chap. ix. 

Newton. The Ionic philosophers added but little to the 
realm of true philosophy, but they were pioneers of thought, 
and giants in their native powers. The old astronomers 
did as little as they to place science on a true foundation, 
but they showed great ingenuity, and discovered some great 
truths which no succeeding age has repudiated. They de- 
termined the circumference of the earth by a method iden- 
tical with that which would be employed by modern 
astronomers. They ascertained the position of the stars 
by right ascension and declination. They knew the obliq- 
uity of the ecliptic, and determined the place of the sun's 
apogee as well as its mean motion. Their calculations on 
the eccentricity of the moon prove that they had a recti- 
linear trigonometry and tables of chords. They had an 
approximate knowledge of parallax.^ They could calculate 
eclipses of the moon, and use them for the correction of 
their lunar tables. They understood spherical trigonometry, 
and determined the motions of the sun and moon, involving 
an accvirate definition of the year, and a method of pre- 
dicting eclipses. They ascertained that the earth was a 
sphere, and reduced the phenomena of the heavenly bodies 
to uniform movements of circular orbits.^ We have settled, 
by physical geography, the exact form of the earth, but 
the ancients arrived at their knowledge by astronomical 
reasonino;. " The reduction of the motions of the sun, 
moon, and five planets to circular orbits, as was done by 
Hipparchus, implies deep concentrated thought and scien- 
tific abstraction. The theory of eccentrics and epicycles 
accomplished the end of explaining all the known phenom- 
ena. The resolution of the apparent motions of the 
heavenly bodies into an assemblage of circular motions, 
was a great triumph of genius,^ and was equivalent to the 
most recent and improved processes by which modern as- 
tronomers deal with such motions." 

1 Delambre, Hist. (TAstr. Anc, torn. 1, p. 184. 

2 Lewis, Hist, of Astron., p. 209. 

8 Whewell, Hist. Indue. Science, v. i. p. 181. 



Chap. IX.] Oriental Speculation, 357 

But I will not here enumerate the few discoveries which 
were made by the Alexandrian school. I only wish to 
show that there are a few names among the ancients which 
are inscribed on the roll of great astronomers, limited as 
were the triumphs of the science itself. But, until the time 
of Aristarchus, most of the speculations were crude and 
useless. Nothing can be more puerile than the notions of 
the ancients respecting the nature and motions of the 
heavenly bodies. 

Astronomy w^as probably born in Chaldea as early as the 
time of Abraham. The glories of the firmament Astronomy 
were impressed upon the minds of the rude prim- chaidea. 
itive races with an intensity which we do not feel with all 
the triumphs of modern science. The Chaldean shepherds, 
as they watched their flocks by night, noted the movements 
of the planets, and gave names to the more brilliant con- 
stellations. Before religious rituals were established, be- 
fore great superstitions arose, before poetry was sung, 
before musical instruments were invented, before artists 
sculptured marble or melted bronze, before coins were 
stamped, before temples arose, before diseases were healed 
by the arts of medicine, before commerce was known, be- 
fore heroes were born, those oriental shepherds counted 
the hours of anxiety by the position of certain constella- 
tions. Astronomy is, therefore, the oldest of the ancient 
sciences, although it remained imperfect for more than four 
thousand years. The old Assyrians, Egyptians, and Greeks 
made but few discoveries w^iich are valued by modern as- 
tronomers, but they laid the foundation of the science, and 
ever regarded it as one of the noblest subjects which could 
stimulate the faculties of man. It w^as invested with all 
that was religious and poetical. 

The spacious level and unclouded horizon of Chaldea 
afforded peculiar facilities of observation ; and its Digcovenee 
pastoral and contemplative inhabitants, uncon- ^^^^^ 
taminated by the vices and superstitions of sub- "**^^°«- 



858 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans. [Chap. rx. 

sequent ages, active-minded and fresh, discovered, after 
a long observation of eclipses — some say extending over 
nineteen centuries — the cycle of two hundred and twenty- 
three lunations, which brings back the eclipses in the same 
order. Having once established their cycle, they laid the 
foundation for the most sublime of all the sciences. Callis- 
thenes transmitted from Babylon to Aristotle a collection 
of observ^ations of all the eclipses that preceded the conquests 
of Alexander, too-ether with the definite knowledo-e which 
the Chaldeans had collected about the motions of the heav- 
enly bodies. It was rude and simple, and amounted to little 
beyond the fact that there were spherical revolutions about 
an inclined axis, and that the poles pointed always to par- 
ticular stars. The Egyptians also recorded their observa- 
tions, from which it would appear that they observed 
eclipses at least one thousand six hundred years before the 
commencement of our era. Nor is this improbable, if the 
speculations of modern philosophers respecting the age of the 
world are entitled to respect. The Egyptians discovered, 
by the rising of Sirius, that the year consists of three hun- 
dred and sixty-five and one quarter days, and this was 
their sacred year, in distinction from the civil, which con- 
sisted of three hundred and sixty-five days. They also 
had observed the courses of the planets, and could explain 
the phenomena of the stations and retrogradations, and it 
is even asserted that they regarded Mercury and Venus 
as satellites of the sun. Some have maintained that the 
obelisks which they erected served the purpose of gnomons, 
for determining the obliquity of the ecliptic, the altitude of 
the pole, and the length of the tropical year. It is thought 
that even the Pyramids, by the position of their sides to- 
ward the cardinal points, attest their acquaintance with a 
meridional line. The Chinese boast of havino; noticed and 
recorded a series of eclipses extending over a period of 
three thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight years, and it 
is probable that they anticipated the Greeks two thousand 



Chap. IX.] Early Greek Discoveries, 359 

years in the discovery of the Metonic cycle, or the cycle 
of nineteen years, at the end of which time the new moons 
fall on the same days of the year. Tliey determined the 
obliquity of the ecliptic, one thousand one hundred years 
before our era, to be 23° 54^ 3-15'^ The Indians, at a 
remote antiquity, represented celestial phenomena with 
considerable exactness, and constructed tables by wdiich 
the longitude of the sun and moon are determined. 
Bailly thinks that astronomy was cultivated in Siam three 
thousand one hundred and two years before Christ, which 
hardly yields in accuracy to that which modern science 
has built on the theory of universal gravitation. The 
Greeks divided the heavens into constellations fourteen 
centuries before Christ. Thales, born 640 b. c, taught 
the rotundity of the earth, and that the moon shines with 
reflected light. He also predicted eclipses. Anaximan- 
der, born 610 b. c, invented the gnomon, and constructed 
geographical charts. 

But the Greeks, after all, were the only people of an- 
tiquity wdio elevated astronomy to the dio-nity of The early 

^ Greek in- 

a science. They however confessed that they vestigators. 
derived their earliest knowledge from the Babylonian and 
Egyptian priests, while the priests of Thebes asserted that 
they were the originators of exact astronomical observa- 
tions.^ Diodorus asserts that tlie Chaldeans used the Tem- 
ple of Belus, in the centre of Babylon, for their survey of the 
jieavens.2 But whether the Babylonians or the Egyptians 
were the earliest astronomers, it is of little consequence, 
although the pedants make it a grave matter of investiga- 
tion. All we know is, that astronomy was cultivated by 
both Babylonians and Egyptians, and that they made but 
very limited attainments. The early Greek philosophers, 
who visited Egypt and the East in search of knowledge, 
found very little to reward their curiosity or industry ; 
not much beyond preposterous claims to a high antiquity, 

1 Diod., i. 50. 2 Diod., ii. 9. 



360 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans. [Chap. IX 

and an esoteric wisdom which has not yet been revealfed. 
They approximated to the truth in reference to the solar 
year, by observing the equinoxes and solstices, and the 
heliacal rising of particular stars. Plato and Eudoxus 
spent thirteen years in HeHopolis for the purpose of ex- 
tracting the scientific knowledge of the priests, but they 
learned but little beyond the fact that the solar year was a 
trifle beyond three hundred and sixty-five days. No great 
names have come down to us from the priests of Babylon 
or Egypt. No one gained an individual reputation. The 
Chaldean and Egyptian priests may have furnished the 
raw material of observation to the Greeks, but the latter 
alone possessed the scientific genius by which indigested 
facts were converted into a symmetrical system. The East 
never gave valuable knowledge to the West. It gave only 
superstition. Instead of astronomy, it gave astrology ; in- 
stead of science, it gave magic and incantations and dreams 
— poison which perverted the intellect.^ They connected 
their astronomy with divination from the stars, and made 
their antiquity reach back to two hundred and seventy 
thousand years. There were soothsayers in the time of 
Daniel, and magicians, exorcists, and interpreters of signs.^ 
They were not men of scientific research, seeking truth. 
It was power they sought, by perverting the intellect of 
the people. The astrology of the East was founded on the 
principle that a star or constellation presided over the birth 
of an individual, and either portended his fate, or shed a 
good or bad influence upon his future life. The star which 
looked upon a child at the hour of his birth, was called the 
horoscopus, and the peculiar influence of each planet was 
determined by professors of the genethliac art. The super- 
stitions of Egypt and Chaldea unfortunately spread both 
among the Greeks and Romans, and these were about all 
that the western nations learned from the boastful priests 

1 Sir G. G. Lewis, Hist, of Anc. Astron., p. 293. 

2 Dan. i. 4,17,20. 



Chap. IX.] Opinions of the Early CrreeJcs. 361 

of occult science. Whatever was known of real value 
among the ancients, is du^ to the earnest inquiries of the 
Greeks. 

And yet their researches were very unsatisfactory until 
tlie time of Hipparchus. The primitive knowl- Researches 
edge, until Thales, was almost nothing. The Greeks. 
Homeric poems regarded the earth as a circular plain, 
bounded by the heaven, which was a solid vault or hemi- 
sphere, with its concavity turned downwards. And this 
absurdity was believed until the time of Herodotus, five 
centuries after ; nor was it exploded fully in the time of 
Aristotle. The sun, moon, and stars, were supposed to 
move upon, or with, the inner surface of the heavenly 
hemisphere, and the ocean was thought to gird the earth 
around as a o-reat belt, into which the heavenlv bodies 
sunk at their settino;.-^ Homer believed that the sun 
arose out of the ocean, ascending the heaven, and again 
plunging into the ocean, passing under the earth, and pro- 
ducing darkness.^ The Greeks even personified the sun 
as a divine charioteer driving his fiery steeds over the 
steep of heaven, until he bathed them at evening in the 
western waves. Apollo became the god of the sun, as 
Diana was the goddess of the moon. But the early Greek 
inquirers did not attempt to explain how the sun found his 
way from the west back again to the east. They merely 
took note of the diurnal course, the alternation of day 
and night, the number of the seasons, and their regular 
successions. They found the points of the compass by 
determining the recurrence of the equinoxes and solstices ; 
but they had no conception of the ecliptic — of that great 
circle in the heaven, formed by the sun's annual course, 
and of its obliquity when compared with the equator. 
Like the Egyptians and Babylonians, they ascertained the 
length of the year to be three hundred and sixty-five days ; 
but perfect accuracy was wanting for want of scientific 

1 R, vii. 422; Od., iii. i. xix. 433. 2 Ji^ yiii. 485. 



862 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans, [Chap. TX. 

instruments, and of recorded observations of the heavenly 
bodies. The Greeks had not Qven a common chronoloo;- 
ical era for the designation of years. Thus Herodotus in- 
forms us that the Trojan War preceded liis time by eight 
liundred years : ^ he merely states the interval between 
the event in question and his own time ; he had certain 
data for distant periods. Thus the Greeks reckoned dates 
from the Trojan War, and the Romans from the building of 
their city. And they divided the year into twelve month.s, 
and introduced the intercalarv circle of eio-ht years, 
although the Romans disused it afterwards until the calen- 
dar was reformed by Julius Caesar. Thus there w^as no 
scientific astronomical knoAvledge worth mentioning among 
the primitive Greeks. 

Immense research and learning have been expended by 
modern critics, to show the state of scientific astronomy 
among the Greeks. I am equally amazed at the amount 
of research, and its comparativ^e w^orthlessness, for what 
addition to science can be made bv an enumeration of tlie 
puerilities and errors of the Greeks, and how w^asted and 
pedantic the learning which ransacks all antiquity to 
])rove that the Greeks adopted this or that absurdity.^ 

1 7/.,ii. 53. 

2 The style of modem historical criticism may thus be exemplified, like the 
discussions of the Germans, whether the Arx on the Capitoline Hill occupied the 
northeastern or southwestern corner, which take up nearly one half of the learned 
article in Smith's Dictionary^ on the Capitoline. " Thales supposed the earth to 
float on the water, like a plank of wood " : oi 6' e^' vSaros Keio-fW tovtov yap dpxai- 

orarov TrapeiXj^^a^tev rot' Xoyov bv (paaiv eineiv daXri rbv MiXr;criov. Aristot*, De CoeLy 

ii, 13 : " Quce sequitur Thaleiis inepta sententia est. Ait enim ierrarum orbem 
aqua sicsHneri.'" Seneca, Nat. Qua;st., iii. 13. This notion is mentioned in Schol. 
Iliad, xiii. 125. This doctrine Thales brought from Egypt. See Plut, Pac, iii. 
10; Galen, c. 21. But this may be doubted. Callimach., Fra^., 94; Hygin, Poe<. 
Astr., ii. 2; Martin, Timee de Platon., tom. ii. p. 109, thinks it questionable 
whether Thales saw Egypt. Diog. Laert., viii. 60. Compare, however, Sturz, 
Thales, p. 80; Proclus, in Tim., 1. p. 40; Schol. Aristophanes, Nub., ii. 31; Varro, 
ii. vi. 10. See also, Ideler Cfiron., vol. i. p. 300. But Brandis sheds light upon 
the point, though his suggestions conflict with Origen, Phil, p. 11; also with 
Aristotle, Be Cosl., ii. 13. 

This style of expending learning on nothing, meets with great favor with the 
pedants, who attach no value to history unless one half of the page is filled with 



Chap. IX.] The Successors of Thales. 363 

But to return. The earliest historic name associated 
with astronomy in Greece was Thales, the 

Thales. 

founder of the Ionic school of philosophers, born 
639 B. c. He is reported to have predicted an eclipse of 
the sun, to have made a visit to Egypt, to have fixed the 
year at three hundred and sixty-five da^^s, and to haA^e de- 
termined the course of the sun from solstice to solstice. 
He attributed an eclipse of the moon to the interposition 
of the earth between the sun and moon ; and an eclipse of 
the sun to the interposition of the moon between the sun 
and earth. ^ He also determined the ratio of the sun's 
diameter to its apparent orbit. As he first solved the 
problem of inscribing a right-angled triangle in a circle,^ 
he is the founder of geometrical science in Greece. He 
left, however, nothing to writing, hence all accounts of 
him are confused. It is to be doubted whether in fact he 
made the discoveries attributed to him. His speculations, 
which science rejects, such as that water is the principle of 
all things, are irrelevant to a description of the progress 
of astronomy. That he was a great light, no one ques- 
tions, considerincr the io;norance with which he was sur- 
rounded. Anaximander, who followed him in Anaximan- 
philosophy, held to puerile doctrines concerning aximenes. 
the motions and nature of the stars, which it is useless 
to repeat. His addition to science, if he made any, was in 
treating the magnitudes and distances of the planets. He 
attempted to delineate the celestial sphere, and to measure 
time by a sun-dial. Anaximenes of Miletus tauirht, like 
his predecessors, crude notions of the sun and stars, and 
speculated on the nature of the moon, but did nothing to 
advance his science on true grounds, except the construction 
of sun-dials. The same may be said of Heraclitus, Xenoph- 
anes, Parmenides, Anaxagoras. They were great men, 

erudite foot-notes which few can verify, and which prove nothing, or nothing of 
any consequence. 
1 Sir G. G. Lewis, Hist. ofAstron., p. 81. 2 Diog. Laert., L 24. 



364 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans, [Chap. ix. 

but they gave to the world mere speculations, some of 
which are very puerile. They all held to the idea that 
the heavenly bodies revolved around the earth, and that 
the earth was a plain. But they explained eclipses, and 
supposed that the moon derived its light from the sun. 
Some of them knew the difference between the planets 
and the fixed stars. Anaxagoras scouted the notion that 
the sun was a god, and supposed it to be a mass of ignited 
stone, for which he was called an atheist. 

Socrates, who belonged to another school, avoided all 
barren speculations concerning the universe, and 

Socrates. r« i i • ^n ^ • i • 

confined mmseli to human actions and interests. 
He looked even upon geometry in a very practical way, so 
far as it could be made serviceable to land measurino;. As 
for the stars and planets, he supposed it was impossible to 
arrive at a true knowledge of them, and regarded specula- 
tions upon them as useless. The Greek astronomers, how- 
ever barren were their general theories, still laid the founda- 
tion of science. Pythagoras, born 580 b. c, taught 
the obliquity of the ecliptic, probably learned in 
Egypt, and the identity of the morning and evening stars. 
It is supposed that he maintained that the sun was the 
centre of the universe, and that the earth revolved around 
it. But this he did not demonstrate, and his whole system 
was unscientific, assuming certain arbitrary principles, from 
which he reasoned deductively. " He assumed that fire 
is more worthy than earth ; that the more worthy place must 
be given to the more worthy ; that the extremity is more 
worthy than the intermediate parts ; and hence, as the cen- 
tre is an extremity, the place of fire is at the centre of the 
universe, and that therefore the earth and other heavenly 
bodies move round the fiery centre." But this was no heli- 
ocentric system, since the sun moved like the earth, in a 
circle around the central fire. This was merely the work 
of the imagination, utterly unscientific, though bold and 
original. Nor did this hypothesis gain credit, since it was 



Chap. IX.] Eudoxus the Founder of Greek Astronomy, 365 

the fixed opinion of philosophers, that the earth was the 
centre of the universe, around which the sun and moon and 
planets revolved. But the Pythagoreans were the first to 
teach that the motions of the sun, moon, and planets, are 
circular and equable. Their idea that they emitted a 
sound, and were combined into a harmonious symphony, 
was exceedingly crude, however beautiful. " The music of 
the spheres" belongs to poetry, as well as the speculations 
of Plato." 

Eudoxus, who was born 406 b. c, may be considered 
the founder of scientific astronomical knowledge 

. - - . Eudoxus. 

among the Cxreeks. He is reputed to have vis- 
ited Egypt with Plato, and to have resided thirteen years 
in Heliopolis, in constant study of the stars, communing 
with the Egyptian priests. His contribution to the science 
was a descriptive map of the heavens, which was used as a 
manual of sidereal astronomy to the sixth century of our 
era. He distributed the stars into constellations, with 
recognized names, and gave a sort of geographical descrip- 
tion of their position and limits, although the constellations 
had been named before his time. He stated the periodic 
times of the five planets visible to the naked eye, but only 
approximated to the true periods. 

The error of only one hundred and ninety days in the 
periodic time of Saturn, shows that there had been, for a 
long time, close observations. Aristotle, whose compre- 
hensive intellect, like that of Bacon, took in all forms of 
knowledge, condensed all that was known in his day in a 
treatise concerning the heavens.^ He regarded astronomy 
as more intimately connected with mathematical science 
than any other branch of philosophy. But even he did 
not soar far beyond the philosophers of his day, since he 
held to the immobility of the earth — the grand error of 
the ancients. Some few speculators in science, like Herac- 
litus of Pontus and Hicetas, conceived a motion of the 

1 Delambre, Hist, de VAstron. Anc, torn. i. p. 301. 



866 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans. [Chap. ix. 

earth itself upon its axis, so as to account for the apparent 
motion of the sun, but they also thought it was in the cen- 
tre of the universe. 

The introduction of the gnomon and dial into Greece 
advanced astronomical knowledge, since they were used to 
determine the equinoxes and solstices, as well as parts of 
the day. Meton set up a sun-dial at Athens in 
the year 433 b. c, but the length of the hour 
varied with the time of the year, since the Greeks divided 
the day into twelve equal parts. Dials were common at 
Rome in the time of Plautus, 224 b. c. ; ^ but there was a 
difficulty of using them, since they failed at night and in 
cloudy weather, and could not be relied on. Hence the 
introduction of water-clocks instead. 

Aristarchus is said to have combated (280 b. c.) the 
Aristar- gcoccutric thcory so generally received by phi- 
chus. losophers, and to have promulgated the hypothe- 

sis " that the fixed stars and the sun are immovable ; that 
the earth is carried round the sun in the circumference of 
a circle of which the sun is the centre ; and that the 
sphere of the fixed stars having the same centre as the 
sun, is of such magnitude that the orbit of the earth is to 
the distance of the fixed stars, as the centre of the sphere 
of the fixed stars is to its surface." ^ This speculation, 
resting on the authority of Archimedes, was ridiculed by 
him ; but if it were advanced, it shows a great advance 
in astronomical science, and considering the age, was one 
of the boldest speculations of antiquity. Aristarchus also, 
according to Plutarch,^ explained the apparent annual 
motion of the sun in the ecliptic, by supposing the orbit of 
the earth to be inclined to its axis. There is no evidence 
that this great astronomer supported his heliocentric theoiy 
witli any geometrical proof, although Plutarch maintains 
that he demonstrated it.* This theory gave great offense, 
especially to the Stoics, and Cleanthes, the head of the 

1 Ap. Gell., N. A., Hi. 3. 2 Lewis, p. 190. 

8 Plut, Plac. Phil, ii. 24. * Quizst. Plat., viii. 1. 



Chap. IX.] Archimedes and Eratosthenes. 367 

school at that time, maintained that the author of such an 
impious doctrine shoukl be punished. Aristarchus has left 
a treatise " On the Magnitudes and Distances of the Sun 
and Moon," and his methods to measure the apparent 
diameters of the sun and moon, are considered sound by 
modern astronomers,^ but inexact owing to defective instru- 
ments. He estimated the diameter of the sun at the seven 
hundred and twentieth part of the circumference of the 
circle, which it describes in its diurnal revokition, which is 
not far from the truth ; but in this treatise he does not 
allude to his heliocentric theory. 

Archimedes, born 287 b. c, is stated to have measured 
the distance of the sun, moon, and planets, and 
he constructed an orrery in wliich he exhibited 
their motions. But it was not in the Grecian colou}^ of 
Syracuse, but of Alexandria, that the greatest light was 
shed on astronomical science. Here Aristarchus resided, 
and also Eratosthenes, wdio Hved between the Eratosthe- 
years 276 and 196 b. c. He was a native of ^^^• 
Athens, but was invited by Ptolemy Euergetes to Alexan- 
dria, and placed at the head of the Hbrary. His oreat 
achievement was the determination of the circumference 
of the earth. This was done by measuring on the ground 
the distance between Syene, a city exactly under the 
tropic, and Alexandria situated on the same meridian. 
The distance was found to be five thousand stadia. The 
meridional distance of the sun from the zenith of Alexan- 
dria, he estimated to be 7° 12', or a fiftieth part of the 
circumference of the meridian. Hence the circumfer- 
ence of the earth was fixed at two hundred and fifty 
thousand stadia, not far from the truth. Tlie circumfer- 
ence being known, the diameter of the earth was easily 
determined. The moderns have added nothing to this 
method. He also calculated the diameter of the sun to be 
twenty-seven times greater than of the earth, and the dis- 
tance of the sun from the earth to be eight hundred and 

1 Lewis, p. 193. 



368 Scientific Knowledge myiong the Romans, [Chap. ix. 

four million stadia, and that of the moon seven hundred 
and eighty thousand stadia — a very close approximation to 
the truth. 

Astronomical science received a great impulse from the 
school of Alexandria, and Eratosthenes had worthy succes- 
sors in Aristarchus, Aristyllus, Apollonius. But the great 
light of this school was Hipparchus, whose lifetime 
extended from 190 to 120 years b. c. He laid the 
foundation of astronomy upon a scientific basis. *' He deter- 
mined," says Delambre, " the position of the stars by right 
ascensions and declinations ; he was acquainted with the 
obliquity of the ecliptic. He determined the inequality of 
the sun, and the place of its apogee, as well as its mean 
motion ; the mean motion of the moon, of its nodes and 
apogee ; the equation of the moon's centre, and the inclina- 
tion of its orbit ; he likewise detected a second inequality, 
of which he could not, for want of proper observations, 
discover the period and the law. His commentary on 
Aratus shows that he had expounded, and given a geomet- 
rical demonstration of, the methods necessary to find out 
the right and oblique ascensions of the points of the ecliptic 
and of the stars, the east point and the culminating point 
of the ecliptic, and the angle of the east, which is now 
called the nonagesimal degree. He could calculate eclipses 
of the moon, and use them for the correction of his lunar 
tables, and he had an approximate knowledge of paral- 
lax." ^ His determination of the motions of the sun and 
moon, and method of predicting eclipses, evince great 
mathematical genius. But he combined, with this deter- 
mination, a theory of epicycles and eccentrics, which mod- 
ern astronomy discards. It was, however, a great thing to 
conceive of the earth as a solid sphere, and reduce the 
phenomena of the heavenly bodies to uniform motions in 
Greatness of circular orbits. " That Hipparchus should have 
Hipparchus. succeeded in the first great steps of the resolu- 

1 Delambre, Ilist. de VAstron. Anc, torn. i. p. 184. 



Chap. IX.] Posidonius. 369 

tion of the heavenly bodies into circular motions is a cir- 
cumstance/' says Whewell, " which gives him one of the 
most distinguished places in the roll of great astronomers." * 
But he even did more than this. He discovered that ap- 
parent motion of the fixed stars round the axis of the eclip- 
tic, which is called the Precession of the Equinoxes, one 
of the greatest discoveries in astronomy. He maintained 
that the precession was not greater than fifty-nine seconds, 
and not less than thirty-six seconds. Hipparchus framed a 
catalogue of the stars, and determined their places with 
reference to the ecliptic, by their latitudes and longitudes. 
Altogether, he seems to have been one of the greatest 
geniuses of antiquity, aiid his works imply a prodigious 
amount of calculation. 

Astronomy made no progress for three hundred years, 
althoucrh it was expounded by improved methods, 
rosidonuis constructed an orrery, which exhib- 
ited the diurnal motions of the sun, moon, and five planets. 
Posidonius calculated the circumference of the earth to be 
two hundred and forty thousand stadia by a different method 
from Eratosthenes. The barrenness of discovery, from 
Hipparchus to Ptolemy, in spite of the patronage of the 
Ptolemies, was owing to the want of instruments for the 
accurate measure of time, like our clocks, to the imperfec- 
tion of astronomical tables, and to the want of telescopes. 
Hence the great Greek astronomers were unable to real- 
ize their theories. Their theories were magnificent, and 
evinced great power of mathematical combination ; but 
what could they do without that wondrous instrument by 
which the human eye indefinitely multiplies its power? — 
by which objects are distinctly seen, which, without it, 
would be invisible ? Moreover, the ancients had no accu- 
rate almanacs, since the care of the calendar belon^^ed to 
the priests rather than to the astronomers, who tampered 
with the computation of time for temporary and personal 



1 Hist. Ind. Science, vol. i. p. 181. 
24 



1 



370 Scientific Knoivledge among the Romans. [Chap. ix. 

objects. The calendars of different communities differed. 
Hence Julius Caesar rendered a great service to science by 
the reform of the Roman calendar, which was exclusively 
The Roman uudcr the coutrol of the college of pontiffs. The 
calendar. Roman year consisted of three hundred and fifty- 
five days, and, in the time of Cassar, the calendar was in 
great confusion, being ninety days in advance, so that Jan- 
uary w^as an autumn month. He inserted the regular in- 
tercalary month of twenty-three days, and two additional 
ones of sixty-seven days. These, together of ninety days, 
were added to three hundred and sixty-five days, making 
a year of transition of four hundred and forty-five days, by 
which January w'as brought back to the first month in 
the year af\er the winter solstice. And to prevent the 
repetition of the error, he directed that in future the year 
should consist of three hundred and sixtv-five and one 
quarter days, which he effected by adding one day to the 
months of April, June, September, and November, and 
two days to the months of January, Sextilis, and Decem- 
ber, making an addition of ten days to the old year of three 
hundred and fifty-five. And he provided for a uniform 
intercalation of one dav in everv fourth year, wdiich 
accounted for the remaining quarter of a day.^ 

" lUe moras solis, quibus in sua signa rediret, 

Traditur exactis disposuisse notis. 
Is decies senos tercentum et quinque diebus 

Junxit; et pleno tempo ra quarta die. 
Hie anni modus est. In lustrum accedere debet 

Quae consummatur partibus, una dies." 2 

Caesar was a student of astronomy, and always found time 
coesar's ^^^ ^^^ Contemplation. He is said even to have 
iabor6. written a treatise on the motion of the stars. 

He was assisted in his reform of the calendar by Sosigines, 
an Alexandrian astronomer. He took it out of the hands 
of the priests, and made it a matter of pure civil regula- 
tion. The year was defined by the sun, and not, as be- 
fore, by the moon. 

1 Suet., C(£6ar, 40; Plut, Cx&ar, 59. 2 Qvid, Fast^ iii. 



Chap. IX.] PtoUmaic System, 371 

Thus the Romans were the first to bring the scientific 
knowledge of the Greeks into practical use ; but while 
they measured the year with a great approximation to 
accuracy, they still used sun-dials and water-clocks to 
measure diurnal time. And even these were not con- 
structed as they should have been. The hours on the 
sun-dial were all made equal, instead of varying with the 
length of the day, so that the hour varied with the length 
of the day. The illuminated interval was divided into 
twelve equal parts, so that, if the sun rose at five a. m. 
and set at eight p. M., each hour was equal to eighty 
minutes. And this rude method of measurement of diur- 
nal time remained in use till the sixth century. But 
clocks, with wheels and weights, were not invented till 
the twelfth century. 

The earlier Greek astronomers did not attempt to fix 
the order of the planets ; but when geometry was applied 
to celestial movements, the difference between the three 
superior planets and the two inferior was perceived, and 
the sun was placed in the midst between them, so that the 
seven movable heavenly bodies were made to succeed one 
another in the following order : 1. Saturn ; 2. Jupiter ; 
3. Mars ; 4. The Sun ; 5. Venus ; 6. Mercury ; 7. The 
Moon. Archimedes adopted this order, which was fol- 
lowed by the leading philosophers.^ 

The last great light among the ancients in astronomical 
science was Ptolemy, who lived from 100 to 170 ptoiemyand 
A. D. in Alexandria. He was acquainted with ^^ system, 
the writings of all the previous astronomers, but accepted 
Hipparchus as his guide. He held that the heaven is 
spherical and revolves upon its axis ; that the earth is a 
sphere, and is situated within the celestial sphere, and 
nearly at its centre ; that it is a mere point in reference to 
the distance and magnitude of the fixed stars, and that it 
has no motion. He adopted the views of the ancient 

1 Lewis, p. 247. 



372 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans. [Chap. ix. 

astronomers, who placed Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars next 
under the sphere of the fixed stars, then the sun above 
Venus and Mercury, and lastly the moon next to the 
earth. But he differed from Aristotle, who conceived that 
the earth revolves in an orbit round the centre of the 
planetary system, and turns upon its axis — two ideas in 
common with the doctrines which Copernicus afterward 
unfolded. But even he did not conceive the heliocentric 
theory that the sun is the centre of the universe. Archi- 
medes and Hipparchus both rejected this theory. 

In regard to the practical value of the speculations of 
the ancient astronomers, it may be said that, had they pos- 
sessed clocks and telescopes, their scientific methods would 
have sufficed for all practical purposes. The greatness of 
modern discoveries lies in the great stretch of the reasoning 
powers, and the magnificent field they afford for sublime 
contemplation. "But," as Sir G. Cornwall Lewis remarks, 
*' modern astronomy is a science of pure curiosity, and is 
directed exclusively to the extension of knowledge in a 
field which human interests can never enter. The peri- 
odic time of Uranus, the nature of Saturn's ring, and the 
occultation of Jupiter's satellites, are as far removed from 
the concerns of mankind as the heliacal rising of Sirius, or 
the northern position of the Great Bear." This may seem 
to be a utilitarian view with which those philosophers, who 
have cultivated science for its own sake, finding in the 
same a sufficient reward, as in truth and virtue, can have 
no sympathy. 

The upshot of the scientific attainments of the ancients. 
Result of in the magnificent realm of the heavenly bodies, 
vestigations. would sccm to bc that they laid the foundation of 
all the definite knowledge which is useful to mankind ; 
while in the field of abstract calculation they evinced 
reasoning and mathematical powers which have never been 
surpassed. Eratosthenes, Archimedes, and Hipparchus 
were geniuses worthy to be placed by the side of Kepler, 



Chap. IX .] Tlie Ancient Mathematicians, 373 

Newton, and La Place. And all ages will reverence their 
efforts and their memory. It is truly surprising that, with 
their imperfect instruments, and the absence of definite 
data, they reached a height so sublime and grand. They 
explained the doctrine of the sphere and the apparent 
motions of the planets, but they had no instruments capable 
of measuring angular distances. The ingenious epicycles of 
Ptolemy prepared the way for the elliptic orbits and laws 
of Kepler, wdiich, in turn, conducted Newton to the dis- 
covery of the laws of gravitation — the grandest scientific 
discovery in the annals of our race. 

Closely connected with astronomical science was geom- 
etry, which was first taught in Egypt, — the 

, ,, p . . - Geometry. 

nurse and cradle or ancient wisdom. It arose 
from the necessity of adjusting the landmarks, disturbed 
by the inundations of the Nile. Thales introduced the 
science to the Greeks. He applied a circle to the meas- 
urement of angles. Anaximander invented the sphere, 
the gnomon, and geographical charts, which required con- 
siderable geometrical- knowledge. Anaxagoras employed 
himself in prison in attempting to square the circle. Pythag- 
oras discovered the important theorem that in a right- 
angled triangle the squares on the sides containing the 
right angle are together equal to the square on the oppo- 
site side of it. He also discovered that of all figures hav- 
ing the same boundary, the circle among plane figures and 
the sphere among solids, are the most capacious. The 
theory of the regular solids was taught in his school, and 
his disciple, Archytas, was the author of a solution of the 
problem of two mean proportionals. Democritus of Ab- 
dera treated of the contact of circles and spheres, and of 
irrational lines and solids. Hippocrates treated Amient 
of the duplication of the cube, and wrote elements geometers. 
of geometry, and knew that the area of a circle was equal 
to a triangle whose base is equal to its circumference, and 
altitude equal to its radius. The disciples of Plato invented 



374 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans. [Chap. ix. 

conic sections, and discovered the geometrical loci. They 
also attempted to resolve the problems of the trisection 
of an angle and the dupHcation of a cube. To Leon is 
ascribed that part of the solution of a problem, called its 
determination^ which treats of the cases in which the prob- 
lem is possible, and of those in which it cannot be resolved. 
Euclid has almost given his name to the science of geom- 
etry. He was born b. c. 323, and belonged to 
the Platonic sect, which ever attached great im- 
portance to mathematics. His " Elements " are still in use, 
as nearly perfect as any human production can be. They 
consist of thirteen books, — the first four on plane geom- 
etry ; the fifth is on the theory of proportion, and applies 
to magnitude in general ; the seventh, eighth, and ninth 
are on arithmetic ; the tenth on the arithmetical character- 
istics of the division of a straight line ; the eleventh and 
twelfth on the elements of solid geometry ; the thirteenth 
on the regular solids. These " Elements " soon became 
the universal study of geometers throughout the civilized 
world. They were translated into the Arabic, and through 
the Arabians were made known to mediaeval Europe. 
There can be no doubt that this work is one of the highest 
triumphs of human genius, and has been valued more than 
any single monument of antiquity. It is still a text-book, 
in various English translations, in all our schools. Euclid 
also wrote various other works, showing great mathematical 
talent. But, perhaps, a greater even than Euclid was 
Archimedes, born 287 b. c, who wrote on the 
sphere and cylinder, which terminate in the dis- 
covery that the solidity and surface of a sphere are respect- 
ively two thirds of the solidity and surface of the circum- 
scribing cylinder. He also wrote on conoids and sphe- 
roids. " The properties of the spiral, and the quadrature 
of the parabola were added to ancient geometry by Archi- 
medes, the last being a great step in the progress of the 
science, since it was the first curvilineal space legitimately 



Chap. IX.] Eratosthenes. 375 

squared." Modern mathematicians may not have the 
patience to go through his investigations, since the con- 
clusions he arrived at may now be reached by shorter 
methods, but the great conchisions of the old geometers 
were only reached by prodigious mathematical power. 
Archimedes is popularly better known as the inventor of 
engines of war, and various ingenious machines, than as a 
mathematician, great as w^ere his attainments. His theory 
of the lever was the foundation of statics, till the discovery 
of the composition of forces in the time of Newton, and no 
essential addition was made to the principles of the equili- 
brium of fluids and floating bodies till the time of Stevin 
in 1608. He detected the mixture of silver in a crown of 
gold which his patron, Hiero of Syracuse, ordered to be 
made, and he invented a water-screw for pumping water 
out of the hold of a great ship he built. He used also a 
combination of pulleys, and he constructed an orrery to 
represent the movement of the heavenly bodies. He had 
an extraordinary inventive genius for discovering new 
provinces of inquiry, and new points of view for old and 
familiar objects. Like Newton, he had a habit of abstrac- 
tion from outward things, and would forget to take his 
meals. He was killed by Roman soldiers when Syracuse 
was taken, and the Sicilians so soon forc^ot his greatness 
that in the time of Cicero they did not know where his 
tomb was.^ 

Eratosthenes was another of the famous geometers of 
antiquity, and did much to improve geometrical Eratos- 
analysis. He was also a philosopher and geog- tiieneg. 
rapher. He gave a solution of the problem of the dupli- 
cation of the cube, and applied his geometrical knowledge 
to the measurement of the maijnitude of the earth — one 
of the first who brought mathematical methods to the aid 
of astronomy, which, in our day, is almost exclusively the 
province of the mathematician. 

1 See article in Smith's Dictionary, by Prof. Darkin, of Oxford. 



376 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans, [Chap. ix. 

Apollonius of Perga, probably about forty years younger 
ApoUonius *^^^" Archimedes, and his equal in mathematical 
of Perga. genius, was the most fertile and profound writer 
among the ancients who treated of geometry. He was 
called the Great Geometer. His most important work is 
a treatise on conic sections, regarded with unbounded ad- 
miration by contemporaries, and, in some respects, unsur- 
passed by any thing produced by modern mathematicians. 
He, however, made use of the labors of his predecessors, 
so that it is difficult to tell how far he is orimnal. But all 
men of science must necessarily be indebted to those who 
have preceded them. Even Homer, in the field of poetry, 
made use of the bards who had sung for a thousand years 
before him. In the realms of philosophy the great men of 
all ages have built up new systems on the foundations 
which others have established. If Plato or Aristotle had 
been contemporaries with Thales, would they have matured 
so wonderful a system of dialectics ? and if Thales had 
been contemporaneous with Plato, he might have added to 
his sublime science even more than Aristotle. So of the 
great mathematicians of antiquity ; they were all wonder- 
ful men, and worthy to be classed with the Newtons and 
Keplers of our times. Considering their means, and the 
state of science, they made as greats though not as for- 
tunate^ discoveries — discoveries which show patience, 
genius, and power of calculation. Apollonius was one of 
these — one of the master intellects of antiquity, like 
Euclid and Archimedes — one of the master intellects of 
all aires, like Newton himself. I mio-ht mention the sub- 
jects of his various works, but they would not be under- 
stood except by those familiar with mathematics.^ 

Other famous geometers could also be mentioned, but 
Cultivation ^"^^^ ^^" ^^ Euclid, Archimedcs, and Apollonius 
byth^"^*^^^ are enough to show that geometry was cultivated 
Greeks. ^^ ^ great extcut by the philosophers of antiquity. 

1 See Bayle's Did. ; Bossuet, Essai sur VHist. Gen. des Math. ; Simson's Sec- 
tiones Conicte. 



Chap. IX.] Tlie Empnicdl Sciences, 377 

It progressively advanced, like philosophy itself, from the 
time of Thales, until it had reached the perfection of 
which it was capable, when it became merged into astro- 
nomical science. It was cultivated more particularly by the 
disciples of Plato, who placed over his school this inscrip- 
tion, " Let no one ignorant of geometry enter here." He 
believed that the laws by which the universe is governed 
are in accordance with the doctrines of mathematics. The 
same opinion was shared by Pythagoras, the great founder 
of the science, whose great formula was, that number is 
the essence or first principle of all things. No thinkers 
ever surpassed the Greeks in originality and profundity, 
and mathematics, being highly prized by them, were carried 
to the greatest perfection their method would allow. They 
did not understand algebra, by the application of which 
to geometry modern mathematicians have climbed to 
greater heights than the ancients. But then it is all the 
more remarkable that, without the aid of algebraic anal- 
ysis, they were able to solve such difficult problems as 
occupied the minds of Archimedes and Apollonius. No 
positive science can boast of such rapid development as 
geometry for two or three hundred years before Christ, 
and never was the intellect of man more severely tasked 
than by the ancient mathematicians. 

No empirical science can be carried to perfection by any 
one nation or in any particular epoch. It can only Empirical 
expand with the progressive developments of the ^^i^"^^^- 
human race itself Nevertheless, in that science which for 
three thousand years has been held in the greatest honor, 
and which is one of the three great liberal professions of 
our modern times, the ancients, especially the Greeks, 
made considerable advance. The science of medicine, 
having in view the amelioration of human misery, and the 
prolongation of life itself, was very early cultivated. It 
was, indeed, in old times, another word for physics^ — the 
science of nature, — and the physician was the observer 



378 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans, [Chap. ix. 

and expounder of physics. The physician was supposed to 
be acquainted with the secrets of nature — that is, the 
knowledge of drugs, of poisons, of antidotes to them, and 
tlie way to administer them. He was also supposed to 
know the process of preserving the body after death. 
Thus Joseph commanded his physician to embalm the 
body of his father seventeen hundred years before the 
birth of Christ, and the process of embalming was 
probably known to the Egyptians beyond the period 
when history begins. Helen, of Trojan fame, put into 
wine a drug that "frees man from grief and anger and 
causes oblivion of all ills." ^ Solomon was a great botan- 
ist, with which the science of medicine is indissolubly con- 
nected. The " Ayur Veda," written nine hundred years 
before Hippocrates was born, sums up the knowledge of 
previous periods relating to obstetric surgery, to general 
pathology, to the treatment of insanity, to infantile dis- 
eases, to toxicology, to personal hygiene, and to diseases 
of the generative functions.^ The origin of Hindu medi- 
cine is lost in remote antiquity. 

Thus Hippocrates, the father of European medicine, 
must have derived his knowledge, not merely 
from his own observations, but from the writincrs 
of men unknown to us, and systems practiced for an indefi- 
nite period. The real founders of Greek medicine are 
fabled characters, like Hercules and ^Esculapius — that is, 
benefactors whose names have not descended to us. They 
are mythical personages, like Hermes and Chiron. One 
thousand two hundred years before Christ temples were 
erected to ^sculapius in Greece, the priests of which were 
really physicians, and the temples themselves were hospi- 
tals. In them were practiced rites apparently mysterious, 
but which modern science calls by the names of mesmer- 
ism, hydropathy, mineral springs, and other essential ele- 
ments of empirical science. And these temples were also 

1 Odyssey, b. iv. ^ Wise, On the Ilindu System of Medicine, p. 12. 



Chap. IX.] Hippocrates. 379 

medical schools. That of Cos gave birth to Hippocrates, 
and it was there that his writings were commenced. 
Pythagoras — for those old Grecian philosophers were the 
fathers of all wisdom and knowledge, in mathematics and 
empirical sciences, as well as philosophy itself — studied 
medicine in the schools of Egypt, Phoenicia, Chaldea, and 
India, and came in conflict with sacerdotal power, which 
has ever been antagonistic to new ideas in science. He 
traveled from town to town as a teacher or lecturer, estab- 
lishino; communities in which medicine as well as numbers 
was taught. 

The greatest name iri medical science, in ancient or in 
modern times, — the man who did the most to advance it ; 
the greatest medical genius of w^hom we have record, — 
is Hippocrates, born on the island of Cos b. c. 460, of the 
great ^sculapian family, and was instructed by his father. 
AVe know scarcely more of his life than Ave do of Homer 
himself, although he lived in the period of the highest 
splendor of Athens. And his writings, like those of Ho- 
mer, are thought by some to be the work of different men. 
They were translated into Arabic, and were no slight 
means of giving an impulse to the Saracenic schools of the 
Middle Ages in that science in which the Saracens espe- 
cially excelled. The Hippocratic collection consists of 
more than sixty works, which were held in the highest esti- 
mation by the ancient physicians. Hippocrates introduced 
a new era in medicine, which, before his time, had been 
monopolized by the priests. He carried out a system of 
severe induction from the observation of facts, and is as 
truly the creator of the inductive method as Bacon him- 
self. He abhorred theories which could not be established 
by facts. He was always open to conviction, and can- 
didly confessed his mistakes. He was conscientious in the 
practice of his profession, and valued the success of his art 
more than silver and gold. The Athenians revered him 
for his benevolence as well as genius. The great pnnciple 



380 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans, [Chap. ix. 

of his practice was trust in nature. Hence he was accused 
of allowing his patients to die ; but this principle has many 
advocates among scientific men in our day, and some sup- 
pose the whole philosophy of homeopathy rests on the 
primal principle which Hippocrates advanced. He had 
great skill in diagnosis, by which medical genius is most 
severely tested. His practice was cautious and timid in 
contrast with that of his contemporaries. He is the author 
of the celebrated maxim, " Life is short and art is long." 
He divides the causes of disease into two principal classes, 
— the one comprehending the influence of seasons, cli- 
mates, and other external forces ; the other from the effects 
of food and exercise. To the influence of climate he at- 
tributes the conformation of the body and the disposition 
of the mind. He also attributes all sorts of disorders to a 
vicious system of diet. For more than twenty centuries 
his pathology was the foundation of all the medical sects. 
He was well acquainted with the medicinal properties of 
drugs, and was the first to assign three periods to the 
course of a malady. He knew, of course, but little of 
surgery, although he was in the habit of bleeding, and 
often emploj^ed his knife. He w^as also acquainted with 
cupping, and used violent purgatives. He was not aware 
of the importance of the pulse, and confounded the veins 
with the arteries. He wrote in the Ionic dialect, and some 
of his works have gone through three hundred editions, 
so highly have they been valued. His authority passed 
away, like that of Aristotle, on the revival of European 
science. Yet who have been greater ornaments and lights 
than these distinguished Greeks ? 

The school of Alexandria produced eminent physicians, 
as well as mathematicians, after the glory of 

Galen. o J 

Greece had departed. So highly was it esteemed 
that Galen went there to study five hundred years after its 
foundation. It was distinguished for inquiries into scien- 
tific anatomy and physiology, for which Aristotle had pre- 



(Jhap. IX.] Galen, S81 

pared the way. He was the Humboldt of his day, and 
gave great attention to physics. In eight books he de- 
veloped the general principles of natural science knoAvn to 
the Greeks. On the basis of the Aristotelian researches, 
the Alexandrian physicians carried out extensive inquiries 
in physiology. Herophilus discovered the fundamental 
principles of neurology, and advanced the anatomy of the 
brain and spinal cord. 

Although the Romans had but little sympathy for sci- 
ence or philosophy, being essentially political and warlike 
in their turn of mind, yet w^hen they had conquered the 
world, and had turned their attention to arts, medicine re- 
ceived great attention.' The first physicians were Greek 
slaves. Of these was Asclepiades, who enjoyed the friend- 
ship of Cicero. It is from him that the popular medical 
theories as to the " pores " have descended. He was the 
inventor of the shower-bath. Celsus wrote a work on 
medicine which takes almost equal rank with the Hippo- 
cratic writino-s. Medical science at Rome culminated in 
Galen, as it did at Athens in Hippocrates. He M^cUcai 
was patronized by Marcus Aurelius, and availed amTngthe 
himself of all the knowledge of preceding natu- ^<^°^^'^s- 
ralists and physicians. He was born at Pergamus about 
the year a. p. 165, where he learned, under able masters, 
anatomy, pathology, and therapeutics. He finished his 
studies at Alexandria, and came to Rome at the invitation 
of the emperor. Like his patron, he w^as one of the bright- 
est ornaments of the heathen world, and one of the most 
learned and accomplished men of any age. " Medicorum 
dissertissimiis atqua doctissimus.^^ ^ He left five hundred 
treatises, most of them relating to some branch of medical 
science, which give him the merit of being one of the 
most voluminous of authors. His celebrity is founded 
chiefly on his anatomical and physiological works. He 
was familiar with practical anatomy, deriving his knowl- 

1 St. Jerome, Comment, in Aoms, c. 5, vol. vi. 



382 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans. [Crap. ix. 

edo-e from dissection. His observations about health are 
practical and useful. He lays great stress on gymnastic 
exercises, and recommends the pleasures of the chase, the 
cold bath in hot weather, hot baths to old people, the use 
of wine, three meals a day, and pork as the best of animal 
food. The great principles of his practice were that dis- 
ease is to be overcome by that which is contrary to the 
disease itself, and that nature is to be preserved by that 
which has relation with nature. As disease cannot be 
overcome so long as its cause exists, that, if possible, was 
first to be removed, and the strength of the patient is to be 
considered before the treatment is proceeded with. His 
" Commentaries on Hippocrates " served as a treasure of 
medical criticism, from which succeeding annotators bor- 
rowed. No one ever set before the medical profession a 
higher standard than Galen, and few have more nearly ap- 
proached it. He did not attach himself to any particular 
school, but studied the doctrines of each — an eclectic in 
the fullest sense.^ The works of Galen constituted the 
last production of ancient Roman medicine, and from his 
day the decline in medical science was rapid, until it was 
revived amono; the Arabs. 

The physical sciences, it must be confessed, were not 
carried by the ancients to any such length as geometry and 
astronomy. In physical geography they were particularly 
deficient. Yet even this branch of knowledo;e can boast 
of some eminent names. When men sailed timidly on the 
coasts, and dared not explore distant seas, the true position 
of countries could not be ascertained with the definiteness 
that it is at present. But geography was not utterly neg- 
lected, nor was natural history. 

Herodotus gives us most valuable information respecting 
Physical ^^^® mauucrs and customs of oriental and bar- 
geography. j^^rous uatious, and Pliny has written a natural 

1 See Leclerc, Hist, de la Medicine ; Hartt Shoeugel, Geschichte der Arzney- 
kuruk. W. A. Greenhill, M. D., of Oxford, has a very learned article in Smith's 
Dictionary. 



Chap. IX.] Straho, 383 

history, in thirty-seven books, which is compiled from 
upwards of two thousand volumes, and refers to twenty 
thousand matters of importance. He was born a. d. 23, 
and was fifty-three when the eruption of Vesuvius took 
place which caused his death. Pliny cannot be called a 
scientific genius, in the sense understood by modern sa- 
vants ; nor was he an original observer. His materials are 
drawn up second hand, like a modern encyclopedia. Nor 
did he evince great judgment in his selection. He had a 
great love of the marvelous, and is often unintelligible. 
But his work is a wonderful monument of human indus- 
try. It treats of every thing in the natural w^orld — of the 
heavenly bodies, of the elements, of thunder- and lightning, 
of the winds and seasons, of the changes and phenomena 
of the earth, of countries and nations, seas and rivers, of 
men, animals, birds, fishes, and plants, of minerals and 
medicines and precious stones, of commerce and the fine 
arts. He is full of errors ; but his work is among the 
most valuable productions of antiquity. BufFon pro- 
nounced his natural history to contain an infinity of knowl- 
edge in every department of human occupation, conveyed 
in a dress ornate and brilliant. It is a literary rather than 
a scientific monument, and as such it is wonderful — a 
compilation from, one hundred and sixty volumes of notes. 
In strict scientific value, it is inferior to the works of modern 
research ; but there are few minds, even in these times, 
who have directed inquiries to such a variety of subjects. 

Geographical knowledge was advanced by Strabo, who 
lived in the Augustan era ; but researches were 
chiefly confined to the Roman empire. Strabo 
was, like Herodotus, a great traveler, and much of his 
geographical information is the result of his own observa- 
tions. It is probable he is much indebted to Eratosthenes, 
who preceded him by three centuries, and who was the 
first systematic writer on geography. The authorities of 
Strabo are chiefly Greek, but his work is defective, from 



384 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans. [Chap. ix. 

the imperfect notions wliicli the ancients had of astronomy ; 
so that the determination of the eartli's figure bv the 
measure of latitude and lono-itude, the essential founda- 
tions of geographical description, was unknown. The enor- 
mous strides, which all forms of physical science have 
made since the discovery of America, throw all ancient 
descriptions and investigations into the shade, and Strabo 
appears at as great disadvantage as Pliny or Ptolemy ; jQt 
the work of Strabo, considering his means, and the imper- 
fect knowledge of the earth's surface, and astronomical 
science, was really a great achievement of industry. He 
treats of the form and magnitude of the earth, and devotes 
eight books to- Europe, six to Asia, and one to Africa. His 
great authorities are Eratosthenes, Polybius, Aristotle, 
Antiochus of Syracuse, Posidonius, Theopompus, Arte- 
midorus Ephorus, Herodotus, Anaximenes, Thucydides, and 
Aristo, chiefly historians and philosophers. Whatever may 
be said of the accuracy of the great geographer of antiq- 
uity, it cannot be denied that he was a man of immense 
research and learnino;. His work in seventeen books is 
one of the most valuable which have come down from 
antiquity, both from the discussions which run through it, 
and the curious facts which can be found nowhere else. It 
is scarcely fair to estimate the genius of Strabo by the cor- 
rectness and extent of his geographical knowledge. All 
men are lost in science, and science is progressive. The 
great scientific lights of our day may be insignificant, com 
pared with those who are to arise, if profundity and accu- 
racy of knowledge is the test. It is the genius of the 
ancients, their grasp and power of mind, their original 
labors which we are to consider. Anaxagoras was one of 
the greatest philosophical geniuses of all ages ; but, as 
philosophy is a science, and is progressive, his knowledge 
could not be compared with that of Aristotle. Again, who 
doubts the original genius and grasp of Aristotle, but what 
was he, in accuracy of knowledge and true method, in 



Chap. IX.] Lahors of Ptolemy, 385 

comparison with the savants of the nineteenth century ; 
yet, it would be difficult to show that Aristotle was infe- 
rior to Bacon or Cuvier, or Stuart Mill. If, however, we 
would compare the geographical knowledge of the ancients 
with that of the moderns, we confess to the immeasurable 
inferiority of the ancients in this branch. When Eratos- 
thenes began his labors, it was known that the surface of 
the earth was spherical. He established parallels of lati- 
tude and longitude, and attempted the difficult undertak- 
ing of measuring the circumference of the globe by the 
actual measurement of a segment of one of its great cir- 
cles. Posidonius determined the arc of a meridian between 
Rhodes and Alexandria to be a forty-eighth part of the 
whole circuriiference — an enormous calculation, yet a re- 
markable one in the infancy of astronomical science. Hip- 
parchus introduced into geography a great improvement, 
namely, the relative situation of places, by the same proc- 
ess that he determined the positions of the heavenly 
bodies. He also pointed out how longitude might be de- 
termined by observing the eclipses of the sun and moon. 
This led to the construction of maps ; but none Construc- 
have reached us except those which were used to maps, 
illustrate the geography of Ptolemy. Hipparchus was 
born B. c. 276, the first who raised geography to the rank 
of a science. He starved himself to death, being tired of 
life, like Eratosthenes, more properly an astronomer, and 
the most distinguished among the ancients, born about 160 
B. c, although none of his writings have reached us. The 
improvements he pointed out were applied by Ptolemy 
himself, an astronomer who flourished about the 
year 160 at Alexandria. His work was a pres- 
entation of geographical knowledge known in his day, so 
far as geography is the science of determining the position 
of places on the earth's surface. The description of places 
belongs to Strabo. His work was accepted as the text- 
book of the science till the fifteenth century, for in his day 

25 



386 Scientific Knowledge among the Romans, [Chap. ix. 

the Roman empire had been well surveyed. He main- 
tained that the earth is spherical^ and introduced the terms 
longitude and latitude^ which Eratosthenes had established, 
and computed the earth to be one hundred and eighty 
thousand stadia in circumference, and a degree five hun- 
dred stadia in length, or sixty-two and a half Roman miles. 
His estimates of the length of a degree of latitude were 
nearly correct ; but he made great errors in the degrees of 
longitude, making the length of the world from east to 
west too great, which led to the belief in the practicability 
of a western passage to India. He also assigned too great 
length to the Mediterranean, arising from the difficulty of 
finding the longitude with accuracy. But it was impos- 
sible, with the scientific knowledge of his day, to avoid 
errors, and we are surprised that he made so few. 

References. — An exceedingly learned work has recently been 
issued in London, by Parker and Son, on the Astronomy of the An- 
cients, by Sir George Cornwall Lewis, though rather ostentatious in 
his parade of authorities, and minute on points which are not of much 
consequence. Delambre's History of Ancient Astronomy has long 
been a classic, but richer in materials for a history than a history it- 
self There is a valuable essay in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which 
refers to a list of authors, among which are Riccoli, Weilder, Bailly, 
Playfair, La Lande. Lewis makes much reference to Macrobius, Vitru- 
vius, Diogenes Laertius, Plutarch, and Suidas, among the ancients, and 
to Ideler, Unters. iiber die Art. Beob. der Alten. 

Whewell's History of the Inductive Sciences may also be consulted 
with profit. Leclerc, Hist, de Med. ; Spengel, Gesch. der Arzney- 
kunde. Strabo's Geography is the most valuable of Antiquity. See 
also Polybius. 



CHAPTER X. 

INTERNAL CONDITION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. 

We have now surveyed all that was glorious in the 
most splendid empire of antiquity. We have seen a civili- 
zation which, in many respects, rivals all that modern 
nations have to show. In art, in literature, in philosophy, 
in laws, in the mechanism of government, in the cultivated 
face of nature, in military strength, in assthetic culture, the 
Romans were our equals. And this high civilization was 
reached by the native and unaided strength of man ; by 
the power of will, by courage, by perseverance, by genius, 
by fortunate circumstances ; by great men, gifted with un- 
usual talents. We are filled with admiration by all these 
trophies of genius, and cannot but feel that only a superior 
race could have accomplished such mighty triumphs. 

But all this splendid external was deceptive. It was 
hollow at heart. And the deeper we penetrate the social 
condition of the people, their real and practical life, the 
more we feel disgust and pity supplanting all feelings of 
admiration and wonder. The Roman empire, in its shame 
and degradation, suggests melancholy feelings in reference 
to the destiny of man, so far as his happiness and welfare 
depend upon his own unaided strength. And we see pro- 
foundly the necessity of some foreign aid to rescue him 
from his miseries. 

It is a sad picture of oppression, of injustice, of poverty, 
of vice, and of wretchedness, which I have now to present. 
Glory is succeeded by shame, and strength by weakness, 
and virtue by vice. The condition of the great mass is 



388 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

deplorable, and even the great and fortunate shine in a 
false and fictitious light. We see laws, theoretically good, 
practically perverted ; monstrous inequalities of condition, 
selfishness, and egotism the mainsprings of life. We see 
energies misdirected, and art corrupted. All noble aspi- 
rations have fled, and the good and the wise retire from 
active life in despair and misanthropy. Poets flatter the 
tyrants who trample on human rights, and sensuality and 
Epicurean pleasures absorb the depraved thoughts of a 
perverse generation. 

The first thing which arrests our attention as we survey 
Theimpe- the grand empire which embraced the civilized 

rial despot- . _, ii«i« -ii 

ism. countries or the world, is the imperial despotism. 

It may have been a necessity, an inevitable sequence to 
the anarchy of civil war, the strife of parties, great military 
successes, and the corruptions of society itself. It may be 
viewed as a providential event in order that general peace 
and security might usher in the triumphs of a new religion. 
It followed naturally the subversion of the constitution by 
military leaders, the breaking up of the power of the Sen- 
ate, the encroachments of democracy and its leaders, the 
wars of Sulla and Marius, of Pompey and Julius. It suc- 
ceeded massacres and factions and demagogues. It came 
when conspiracies and proscriptions and general insecurity 
rendered a stronger government desirable. The empire 
was too vast to be intrusted to the guidance of conflicting 
parties. There was needed a strong, central, irrepressible, 
irresistible power in the hands of a single man. Safety 
and peace seemed preferable to glory and genius. So the 
people acquiesced in the changes which were made ; they 
had long anticipated them ; they even hailed them' with 
silent joy. Patriots, like Brutus, Cassius, and Cato, gave 
themselves up to despair ; but most men were pleased with 
the revolution that seated Augustus on the throne of the 
world. For twenty years the empire had been desolated 
by destructive and exhaustive wars. The cry of the whole 



Chap. X.] The Imperial Regime. 389 

empire was for peace, and peace could be secured only by 
the ascendency of a single man, ruling with absolute and 
unresisted sway. 

Historians generally have regarded the revolution, which 
changed the republic to a monarchy, as salutary Necessity of 
in its influences for several generations. The '^«'^oi"*^io°- 
empire was never so splendid as under the Caesars. The 
energies of the people were directed into peaceful and in- 
dustrial channels. A new public policy was inaugurated 
by Augustus — to preserve rather than extend the limits 
of the empire. The world enjoyed peace, and the rich 
consoled themselves with riches. Society was established 
upon a new basis, and was no longer rent by factions and 
parties. Demagogues no longer disturbed the public 
peace, nor were the provinces ransacked and devastated to 
provide for the means of carrying on war. So long as men 
did not oppose the government they were safe from moles- 
tation, and were left to pursue their business and pleasure 
in their own way. Wealth rapidly increased, and all 
mechanical arts, and all elegant pleasures. Temples be- 
came more magnificent, and the city was changed from brck 
to marble. Palaces arose upon the hills, and shops were 
erected in the valleys. There were fewer riots and mobs 
and public disturbances. Public amusements were system- 
atized and enlarged, and the people indulged with sports, 
spectacles, and luxuries. Rome became a still greater 
centre of wealth and art as well as of political power. The 
city increased in population and beautiful structures. The 
emperors were great patrons of every thing calculated to 
dazzle the eyes of their subjects, whether amusements, or 
palaces, or baths, or aqueducts, or triumphal monuments. 
Artists and scholars flocked to the great emporium, as well 
as merchants and foreign princes. Nor was im- j^^ ^^^^ 
perial cruelty often visited on the humble classes. '^"^®- 
It was the policy of the emperors to amuse and flatter the 
people, while they deprived them of political rights. But 



890 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire, [Chap. x. 

social life was free. All were at liberty to seek tlieir 
pleasures and gains. All were proud of their metropolis, 
with its gilded glories and its fascinating pleasures. The 
city was probably supplied with better water, and could 
rely with more certainty on the necessaries of life, than 
under the old regime. The people had better baths, and 
larger houses, and cheaper corn. The government, for a 
time, was splendidly administered, even by tyrants. Out- 
rages, extortions, and disturbances were punished. Order 
reigned, and tranquillity, and outward and technical jus- 
tice. All classes felt secure. They could sleep without 
fear of robbery or assassination. And all trades flourished. 
Art was patronized magnificently, and every opportunity 
was offered for making and for spending fortunes. In 
short, all the arguments which can be adduced in favor of 
despotism in contrast with civil war and violence, and the 
strife of factions and general insecurity of life and property, 
can be urged to show that the change, if inevitable, was 
beneficial in its immediate effects. 

Nevertheless, it was a most lamentable change from that 
Despotism of conditiou of tilings which existed before the civil 

the emper- ,., . , p 

Old. wars. Koman liberties were prostrated lorever. 

Tyrants, armed with absolute and irresponsible power, 
ruled over the empire ; nor could tlieir tyranny end but with 
their lives. Noble sentiments and aspirations were re- 
buked. The times were unfavorable to the development 
of genius, except in those ways which subserved the inter- 
ests of the government. Under the emperors we read of 
no more great orators like Cicero, battling for human rights, 
and defending the public weal. Eloquence was suppressed. 
Nor was there liberty of speech in the Senate. The usual 
jealousy of tyrants was awakened to every emancipating 
influence on the people. They were now amused with 
shows and spectacles, but could not make their voices heard 
regarding public injuries. The people were absolutely in 
the hands of iron masters. So was the Senate. So were 



Chap. X.] Imperial Despotism, 391 

all orders and conditions of men. One man reigned su- 
preme. His will was law. Resistance to it was vain. It 
was treason to find fault with any public acts. From the 
Pillars of Hercules to the Caspian Sea one stern will ruled 
all classes and orders. No one could flj from the agents 
and ministers of the empire. He was the vicegerent of the 
Almighty, worshiped as a deity, undisputed master of the 
lives and liberties of one hundred and twenty millions of 
people. There was no restraint on his inclinations. He 
could do whatever he pleased, without rebuke and without 
fear. No general or senator or governor could screen him- 
self from his vengeance. He controlled the army, the 
Senate, the judiciary, the internal administration of the 
empire, and the religious worship of the people. All offices 
and honors and emoluments emanated from him. All 
opposition ceased, and all conspired to elevate still higher 
that supreme arbiter of fortune whom no one could hope 
successfully to rival. Revolt was madness, and treason ab- 
surdity. And so perfect was the mechanism of the gov- 
ernment that the emperor had time for his private pleasures. 
It was never administered with greater rigor than when 
Tiberius secluded himself in his guarded villa. And a 
timid, or weak, or irresolute emperor was as much to be 
feared as a monster, since he was surrounded with minions 
who might be unscrupulous. Nor was the imperial power 
exercised to check the gigantic social evils of the Tyranny of 
empire, — those which were gradually but surely ors. 
undermining the virtues on which strength is based. 
They did not seek to prevent irreligion, luxury, slavery, 
and usury, the encroachments of the rich upon the poor, 
the tyranny of foolish fashions, demoralizing sports and 
pleasures, money-making, and all the follies which lax 
principles of morality allowed. They fed the rabble with 
corn and oil and wine, and thus encouraged idleness and 
dissipation. The world never saw a more rapid retrograde 
in human rights, or a greater prostration of liberties. Taxes 



392 Internal Condition of the Roman JEmjnre, [Chap. x. 

were imposed according to the pleasure or necessities of 
the government. Provincial governors became still more 
rapacious and cruel. Judges hesitated to decide against 
the government. A vile example was presented to the 
people in their rulers. The emperors squandered immense 
sums on their private pleasures, and set public opinion at 
defiance. Patriotism, in its most enlarged sense, became 
an impossibility. All lofty spirits were crushed. Corrup- 
tion, in all forms of administration, fearfully increased, for 
there was no safeo-uard. Women became debased from 
the pernicious influences of a corrupt and unblushing court. 
Adultery, divorce, and infanticide became still more com^ 
mon. The emperors thought more of securing their own 
power and indulging their own passions than of the public 
good. The humihating conviction was fastened upon all 
classes that liberty was extinguished, and that they were 
slaves to an irresponsible power. There are those who ate 
found to applaud a despotism ; but despotism presupposes 
the absence of the power of self-government, and the 
necessity of severe and rigorous measures. It presupposes 
the tendency to crime and violence, that men are brutes 
and must be coerced like wild beasts. We are warranted 
in assuming a very low condition of society when despot- 
ism became a necessity. Theoretically, absolutism may 
be the best government, if rulers are wise and just ; but, 
practically, as men are, despotisms are cruel and revenge- 
ful. There are great and glorious exceptions ; but it can- 
not be denied that society is mournful when tyrants bear 
rule. And it is seldom that society improves under them, 
without very powerful religious influences. It generally 
grows worse and worse. Despotism implies slavery, and 
slavery is the worst condition of mankind, — doubtless a 
wholesome discipline, under certain circumstances, yet still 
a great calamity. 

The Roman world was fortunate in having such a man 
as Augustus for supreme ruler, after all liberties were sub- 



Chap. X.] Augustus. 398 

verted. He was one of the wisest and greatest of tlie em- 
perors. He inaugurated the policy of his suc- 
cessors, from which the immediate ones did not far 
depart. He was careful, in the first place, to disguise his 
powers, and offend the moral sentiments of the people as 
little as possible. He met with but little opposition in his 
usurpation, for the most independent of the nobles had 
perished in the wars, and the rest consulted their interests. 
He selected the ablest and most popular men in the city to 
be his favorite ministers — Maecenas and Agrippa. His 
policy was peace. He declined the coronary gold proffered 
by the Italian states. He was profuse in his generosity, 
without additional burdens on the state, for, as the heir of 
Caesar, he came into possession of eight hundred and fifty 
millions of dollars, the amount which the Dictator had 
amassed from the spoils of war. He was but thirty-three 
years of age, in the prime of his strength and courage. 
He purged the Senate of unworthy members, and restored 
the appearance of its ancient dignity. He took a census 
of the Roman people. He increased the largesses of corn. 
He showed confidence in the people whom he himself 
deceived. He was modest in his demeanor, like Pericles 
at Athens. He visited the provinces and settled their 
difficulties. He appointed able men as governors, and 
perpetuated a standing army. He repaired the public 
edifices, and adorned the city. 

But he crraduallv assumed all the gireat offices of the 
state. He clothed himself with the powers and the badges 
of the consuls, the pra3nomen of imperator, the functions 
of perpetual dictator. He exacted the military oath from 
the whole mass of the people. He became princeps sena- 
tus. He claimed the prerogatives of the tribunes, which 
gave to him inviolability, with the right of protection and 
pardon. He was also invested with the illustrious dignity 
of the supreme pontificate. As the Senate and the people 
continued to meet still for the purpose of legislation, he 



394 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire, [Chap. x. 

controlled the same by assuming the initiative, of propos- 
ing the laws. He took occasion to give to his edicts, in 
his consular or tribunitian capacity, a perpetual force ; and 
liis rescripts or replies which issued from his council cham- 
ber, were registered as laws. He was released from the 
laws, and claimed the name of Caesar. The people were 
deprived of the election of magistrates. All officers of 
the government were his tools, and through them he con- 
trolled all public affairs. The prefect of the city became 
virtually his minister and lieutenant. Even the procon- 
suls received their appointment from him. Thus he be- 
came supreme arbiter of all fortunes, the fountain of all 
influence, the centre of all power, absolute over the lives 
and fortunes of all classes of men. Strange that the peo- 
ple should have submitted to such monstrous usurpations, 
although decently veiled under the names of the old offices 
of the republic. But they had become degenerate. They 
wished'^ for peace and leisure. Thej'' felt the uselessness 
of any independent authority, and resigned themselves to 
a condition which the Romans two centuries earlier would 
have felt to be intolerable. 

Of the immediate successors of Augustus, none equaled 
him in moderation or talents. And with the ex- 
ception of Titus and Vespasian, the emperors 
pcrors. ^^,j^Q comprised the Julian family, were stained 

with great vices. Some were monsters ; others were mad- 
men. But, as a whole, they were not deficient in natural 
ability. Some had great executive talents, like Tiberius — 
a man of vast experience. But he was a cruel and re- 
morseless tyrant, full of jealousy and vindictive hatred. 
Still, amid disgraceful pleasures, he devoted himself to the 
cares of office, and exhibited the virtues of domestic econ- 
omy. Nor did he take pleasure in the sports of the circus 
and the theatre, like most of his successors. But he de- 
stroyed all who stood in his way, as most tyrants do. 
Nor did he spare his own relatives. He was sensual and 



General 
character 
of the eiu 



Chap. X.] Caligula. — Claudius. 395 

intemperate in his habits, and all looked to him with awe 
and trepidation. There was a perfect reign of terror at 
Rome during his latter days, and every body rejoiced wdien 
the tyrant died. 

Caligula, who succeeded Tiberius, belonged to the race 
of madmen. He put to death some of the most 

-r, • 1 . 1 • Caligula. 

eminent Komans, m order to seize on their es- 
tates. He repudiated his wife ; he expressed the wish that 
Rome had but one neck, that it could be annihilated by a 
blow; he used to invite his favorite horse to supper, set- 
ting before him gilded corn and wine in golden goblets ; 
he wasted immense sums in useless works ; he took away 
the last shadow of power from the people ; he impoverished 
Italy by senseless extravagance ; he wantonly destroyed 
his soldiers by whole companies ; he was doubtless as in- 
sane as he was cruel, luxurious, rapacious, and prodigal ; 
he adorned the poops of galleys with precious stones, and 
constructed arduous works with no other purpose tlian 
caprice ; he often dressed like a woman, and generally 
appeared with a golden beard ; he devoted himself to 
fencing, driving, singing, and dancing, and was ruled by 
gladiators, charioteers, and actors. Such was the man to 
whom was intrusted the guardianship of an empire. No 
wonder he was removed by assassination. 

His successor was Claudius, made emperor by the Prae- 
torians. He took Augustus for his model, was 

■,-,,. , 1 -1 1 1 1 Claudius. 

well disposed, and contributed greatly to the em- 
bellishment of the capital. But he was gluttonous and 
intemperate, and subject to the influence of women and 
favorites. He was feeble in mind and body. He was 
married to one of the worst women in history, and Messa- 
lina has passed into a synonym for infamy. By this 
woman he was influenced, and her unblushing efli'ontery 
and disgraceful intrigues made the reign unfortunate. She 
trafficked in the great offices of the state, and sacrificed the 
best blood of the class to which she belonged. Claudius 



896 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

was also governed by freedmen, who performed such offi- 
ces as Louis XV. intrusted to his noble vassals. Claudius 
resembled this inglorious monarch in many respects, and 
his reign was as disastrous on the morals of the people. 
When the death of his wife was announced to him at the 
banquet, he called for wine, and listened to songs and 
music. But she was succeeded by a worse woman, Agrip- 
pina, and the marriage of the emperor with his niece, was 
a scandal as well as a misfortune. Pliny mentions having 
seen this empress in a sea-fight on the Fucine Lake, 
clothed in a soldier's cloak. Daughter of an imperator, 
sister of another, and consort of a third, she is best known 
as the mother of Nero, and the patroness of every thing 
that was shameful in the follies of the times. That an 
emperor should wed and be ruled by two such infamous 
women, indicates either weakness or depravity, and both 
qualities are equally fatal to the welfare of the state over 
which he was called to rule. 

The supreme power then fell into the hands of Nero. 
He gave the promise of virtue and ability, and 

Nero. ^ ^ 1111 n • 

beneca condescended to the most natternig pane- 
gyrics ; but the prospects of ruling beneficently were soon 
clouded by the most disgraceful enormities. He destroyed 
all who were offensive to those who ruled him, even Sen- 
eca who had been his tutor. Lost to all dignity and de- 
cency, he indulged in the most licentious riots, disguising 
himself like a slave, and committing midnight assaults. He 
killed his mother and his aunt, and divorced his wife. He 
sung songs on the public stage, and was more ambitious of 
being a good flute-player than a public benefactor. It is 
even said that he fiddled when Rome was devastated by a 
fearful conflagration. He built a palace, which covered 
entirely Mount Esquiline, the vestibule of which contained 
a colossal statue of himself, one hundred and twenty feet 
hiorh. His o;ardens were the scenes of barbarities, and his 
banqueting halls of orgies which were a reproach to hu- 



Chap. X.] Galha. — Otho. 397 

manity. He wasted the empire by enormous contribu- 
tions, and even plundered the temples of his own capital. 
His wife, Popp^ea, died of a kick which she received from 
this monster, because she had petulantly reproved him. 
Longinus, an eminent lawyer, Lucan the poet, and Petro- 
nius the satirist, alike, were victims of his hatred. This 
last of the Caesars, allied by blood to the imperial house 
of Julius, killed himself in his thirty-first year, to prevent 
assassination, to the universal joy of the Roman world, 
without having done a great deed, or evinced a single vir- 
tue. Flute-playing and chariot races were his main diver- 
sions, and every public interest was sacrificed to his pleas- 
ures, or his vengeance — a man delighting in evil for its 
own sake. 

Nero was succeeded by Galba, who also was governed 
by favorites. He was a great glutton, exceed- 

Galba. 

ingly parsimonious, and very unpopular. In the 
early stages of his life, he appeared equal to the trust and 
dignity reposed in him ; but when he gained the sover- 
eignty, he proved deficient in those qualities requisite to 
wield it. Tacitus sums up his character in a sentence. 
" He appeared superior to his rank before he was emperor, 
and would have always been considered worthy of the su- 
preme power, if he had not obtained it." He was assassi- 
nated after a brief reign. 

His successor, Otho, finding himself unequal to the posi- 
tion to which he was elevated, ended his life by 
suicide. Vitellius, who wore the purple next to 
him, is celebrated for cruelty and gluttony, and was re- 
moved by assassination. Titus and Vespasian were hon- 
orable exceptions to the tyrants and sensualists that had 
reigned since Augustus, but Domitian surpassed all his 
predecessors in unrelenting cruelty. He banished all phi- 
losophers from Rome and Italy, and violently persecuted 
the Christians, and was dissolute and lewd in his private 
habits. He also met a violent death from the assassin's 



398 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap, x, 

dagger, the only way that infamous monsters could he 
hurled from power. Yet such was the fulsome flattery to 
which he and all the emperors were accustomed, that Mar- 
tial addressed this monster, preeminent of all in wickedness 
and cruelty, — 

" To conquer ardent, and to triumph shy, 

Fair Victory named him from the polar sky. 
Fanes to the gods, to men he manners gave ; 
Kest to the sword, and respite to the brave ; 
So high could ne'er Herculean power aspire : 
The god should bend his looks to the Tarpeian fire." l 

Of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the Antonines, I will 
not speak, since they were great exceptions to those who 
generally ruled at Rome. Their virtues and their tal- 
ents are justly eulogized by all historians. Great in war, 
and greater in peace, they were ornaments of human- 
ity. Under their sway, the empire was prosperous and 
happy. Their greatness almost atoned for the w^eakness 
and wickedness of their predecessors. If such men as 
they could have ruled at Rome, the imperial regime 
would have been the greatest blessing. But with them 
expired the prosperity of the empire, and they were suc- 
ceeded by despots, whose vices equaled those of Nero and 
The latter Vitellius. Commodus, Caracalla, Elagabalus, 
emperors. Maxiuiiu, Plulip, Gallieuus, are enrolled on the 
catalogue of those who have obtained an infamous immor- 
tality. At last no virtue or talent on the part of the few 
emperors who really labored for the good of the state, 
could arrest the increasing corruption. The empire was 
doomed when Constantino removed the seat of (rovernment 
to Constantinople. Forty-four sovereigns reigned at Rome 
from Julius to Constantino, in a period of little more than 
three hundred and fifty years, of whom twenty were re- 
moved by assassination. What a commentary on imperial 
despotism ! In spite of the virtues of such men as Tra- 
jan and the Antonines, the history of the emperors is a 

1 Book ix. 101. 



Chap. X.] The Latter Emperors, 399 

loathsome chapter of human depravity, and of its awful 
retribution. Never were greater powers exercised by 
single men, and never were they more signally abused. 
From the time of Augustus those virtues which give glory 
to society steadily declined. The reigns of the emperors 
were fatal to all moral elevation, and even to genius, as 
in the latter days of Louis XIV. The great lights which 
illuminated the Augustan age, disappeared, without any 
to take their place. Under the emperors there are fewer 
great names than for one hundred years before the death 
of Cicero. Eloquence, poetry, and philosophy w^ere alike 
eclipsed. Noble aspirations were repressed by the all- 
powerful and irresistible despotism. 

The tyranny of these emperors was rendered endurable 
by the general familiarity with cruelty. In every Roman 
palace, the slave was chained to the doorw^ay ; thongs hung 
upon the stairs, and the marks of violence on the faces of 
the domestics impressed the great that they were despots 
themselves. They were accustomed to the sight of blood 
in the sports of the amphitheatre. They ruled as tyrants 
in the provinces they governed. 

But it must be allowed that the system of education 
was left untrammeled by the government, provided politics 
were not introduced ; and it produced men of letters, if 
not practical statesmen. It sharpened the intellect and 
enlivened thought. The text-books of the schools were 
the most famous compositions of republican Greece, and 
the favorite subjects of declamation were the glories of the 
free men of antiquity. Nor was there any restriction 
placed upon writing or publication analogous to our mod- 
ern censorship of the press, and many of the emperors, 
like Claudius and Hadrian, were patrons of literature. 
Even the stoical philosophers who tried to persuade the 
emperor that he w^as a slave, were endured, since they did 
not attempt to deprive him of sovereignty. 

Nor could the imperial tyranny be resisted by minds 



400 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire, [Chap. x. 

enervated by indulgence and estranged from all pure as- 
pirations, by the pleasures of sense. They crouched like 
dogs under the uplifted arm of masters. They did not 
even seek to fly from the tyranny which ground them 
down. 

It cannot be 'denied that, on the whole, this long suc- 
character ccssioii of cmpcrors was more intellectual and 
emperors. able than oriental dynasties, and even many 
occidental ones in the Middle Ages, when the principle of 
legitimacy was undisputed. The Roman emperors, as men 
of talents, favorably compare with the successors of Moham- 
med, and the Carlovingian and Merovingian kings. But 
if these talents were employed in systematically crushing 
out all human rights, the despotism they established be- 
came the more deplorable. 

Nor can it be questioned that many virtuous princes 
reigned at Rome, who would have ornamented any age or 
country. Titus, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, Antoninus 
Pius, Alexander Severus, Tacitus, Probus, Cams, Con- 
stantine, Theodosius, were all men of remarkable virtues 
as well as talents. They did what they could to promote 
public prosperity. Marcus Aurelius was one of the purest 
and noblest characters of antiquity. Theodosius for genius 
and virtue ranks with the most illustrious sovereigns that 
ever wore a crown — with Charlemagne, with Alfred, 
with William III., with Gustavus Adolphus. 

Of these Roman emperors some stand out as w^orld 
heroes — greatest among men — remarkable for executive 
ability. Julius is the most renowned name of antiquity. 
He ranks only with Na})oleon Bonaparte in modern times. 
His genius was transcendent ; and, like Napoleon, he 
had great traits which endear him to the world — gener- 
osity, magnanimity, and exceeding culture ; orator, histo- 
rian, and lawyer, as well as statesman and general. But 
he overturned the liberties of his country to gratify a mad 
ambition, and waded through a sea of blood to tlie master- 



Chap. X.] Imperial Despotism. 401 

ship of the world. Augustus was a profound statesman, 
and a successful general ; but he was stained with the 
arts of dissimulation and an intense ambition, and sacri- 
ficed public liberties and rights to cement his power. Even 
Diocletian, tyrant and persecutor as he was, was distin- 
guished for masterly abilities, and was the greatest states- 
man whom the empire saw, with the exception of Augus- 
tus. Such a despot as Tiberius ruled with justice and 
ability. Constantine ranks with the greatest monarchs of 
antiquity. The vices and ambition of these men did not 
dim the lustre of their genius and abilities. 

Their cause was wrong. It matters not whether the 
emperors were good or bad, if the regime, to Theimperiai 
which they consecrated their energies, was ex- <i^spo*^^™ 
erted to crush the liberties of mankind. The imperial 
despotism, whether brilliant or disgraceful, was a mourn- 
ful retrograde in the polity of Rome. It implied the ex- 
tinction of patriotism, and the general degradation of the 
people, or else the fabric of despotism could not have 
been erected. It would have been impossible in the days 
of Cato, Scipio, or Metellus. It was simply a choice 
of evils. When nations emerge from utter barbarism 
into absolute monarchies, like the ancient Persians or 
the modern Russians, we forget the evils of a central 
power in the blessings which extend indirectly to the 
degraded people. But when a nation loses its liberties, 
and submits without a struggle to tyrants, it is a sad 
spectacle to humanity. The despotism of Louis XIV. 
was not disgraceful to the French people, for they never 
had enjoyed constitutional liberty. The despotism of 
Louis Napoleon is mournful, because the nation had waded 
through a bloody revolution to achieve the recognition of 
great rights and interests, and dreamed that they were 
guaranteed. It is a retrograde and not a progress ; a 
reaction of liberty, which seats Napoleon on the throne 
of Louis Philippe ; even as the reign of Charles II. is the 

26 



402 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

saddest chapter in English history. If Hberty be a bless- 
ing, if it be possible for nations to secure it permanently, 
then the regime of the Roman emperors is detestable and 
mournful, whatever necessities may have called it into 
being, since it annulled all those glorious privileges in 
which ancient patriots gloried, and prevented that scope 
for energies which made Rome mistress of the world. 
It was impossible for the empire to grow stronger and 
grander. It must needs become weaker and more corrupt, 
since despotism did not kindle the ambition of the people, 
but suppressed their noblest sentiments, and confined their 
energies to inglorious pursuits. Men might acquire more 
gigantic fortunes under the emperors than in the times of 
the republic, and art might be more extensively culti- 
vated, and luxury and refinement and material pleasures 
might increase ; but public virtue fled, and those senti- 
ments on which national glory rests vanished before the 
absorbing egotism which pervaded all orders and classes. 
The imperial despotism may have been needed, and the 
empire might have fallen, even if it had not existed ; still 
it was a sad and mournful necessity, and gives a humil- 
iating: view of human o-reatness. No lover of libertv can 
contemplate it without disgust and abhorrence. No phi- 
losopher can view it without drawing melancholy lessons 
of human degeneracy — an impressive moral for all ages 
and nations. 

If we turn to the class which, before the dictatorship of 
Julius, had the ascendency in the state, and, for several 
centuries, the supreme power, we shall find but little that 
is flattering to a nation or to humanity. 

The Roman aristocracy was the most powerful, most 
The Roman Wealthy, and most august that this world has 
aristocracy. pi-Q^a^ly sccn. It was under patrician leader- 
ship that the great conquests were made, and the greatness 
of the state readied. The glory of Rome was centred in 
those proud families which had conquered and robbed all 



Chap. X.] Roman Aristocracy. 403 

the nations known to the Greeks. The immortal names 
of ancient Kome are identified with the aristocracy. It 
was not under kings, but under nobles, that military 
ambition became the vice of the most exalted characters. 
In the days of the republic, they exliibited a stern virtue, 
an inflexible policy, an indomitable will, and most ardent 
patriotism. The generals who led the armies to victory, 
the statesmen who deliberated in the Senate, the consuls, 
the praetors, the governors, originally belonged to this noble 
class. It monopolized all the great offices of the state, and 
it maintained its powers and privileges, in spite of conspi- 
racies and rebellions. It may have yielded somewhat to 
popular encroachments, but when the people began to 
acquire the ascendency, the seeds of public corruption 
were sown. The real dignity and glory of Rome co- 
existed with patrician power. 

And powerful families existed in Rome until the fall of 
the empire. Some were descendants of ancient q^^^^ 
patrician houses, and numbered the illustrious ^^^i^^^s- 
generals of the republic among their ancestors. Others 
owed their rank and consequence to the accumulation of 
gigantic fortunes. Others, again, rose into importance from 
the patronage of emperors. All the great conquerors and 
generals of the republic were founders of celebrated fami- 
lies, which never lost consideration. Until the subversion 
of the constitution, they took great interest in politics, and 
w^ere characterized for manly patriotism. Many of them 
were famous for culture of mind as well as public spirit. 
They frowned on the growing Immoralities, and maintained 
the dignity of their elevated rank. The Senate w^as the 
most august assembly ever known on earth, controlling 
kings and potentates, and making laws for the most distant 
nations, and exercising a powder which w^as irresistible. 

Under the emperors this noble class had degenerated in 
morals as well as influence. They still retained Degeneracy 
their enormous fortunes, originally acquired as nowes. 



404 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

governors of provinces, and continually increased by for- 
tunate marriages and speculations. Indeed, nothing was 
more marked and melancholy at Rome than the dispropor- 
tionate fortunes, the general consequences of a low or a 
corrupt civilization. In the better days of the republic, 
property was more equally divided. The citizens were not 
ambitious for more land than they could conveniently culti- 
vate. But the lands, obtained by conquest, gradually fell 
into the possession of powerful families. The classes of 
society widened as great fortunes were accumulated. Pride 
of wealth kept pace with pride of ancestry. And when 
Plebeian families had obtained great estates, they were 
amalgamated with the old aristocracy. The Equestrian 
order, founded substantially on wealth, grew daily in im- 
portance. Knights ultimately rivaled senatorial families. 
Even freedmen, in an age of commercial speculation, be- 
came powerful for their riches. Ultimately the rich formed 
a body by themselves. Under the emperors, the pursuit 
of money became a passion ; and the rich assumed all the 
importance and consideration which had once been be- 
stowed upon those who had rendered great public services. 
The laws of property were rigorous among the Romans, 
and wealth, when once obtained, was easily secured and 
transmitted. 

Such gigantic fortunes were ultimately made, since the 
Gigantic Romaus werc masters of the world, that Rome 
fortunes. bccamc a city of palaces, and the spoils and 
rrches of all nations flowed to the capital. Rome was a 
city of princes, and wealth gave the highest distinction. 
The fortunes were almost incredible. It has been esti- 
mated that the income of some of the richest of the senato- 
rial families equaled a sum of five million dollars a year in 
our money. It took eighty thousand dollars a year to 
support the ordinary senatorial dignity. Some senators 
owned whole provinces. Trimalchio — a rich freedman 
whom Petronius ridiculed — could afford to lose thirty 



Chap. X.] iMxuvy of the NohUs, 405 

millions of sesterces in a single voyage without sensibly 
diminishing his fortune. Pallas, a freedman of the Emperor 
Claudius, possessed a fortune of three hundred millions of 
sesterces. Seneca, the philosopher, amassed an enormous 
fortune. 

The Romans were a sensual, ostentatious, and luxurious 
people, and they accordingly wasted their for- character of 
tunes by an extravagance in their living which ^'^^^'^^i^^- 
has had no parallel. The pleasures of the table and the 
cares of the kitchen were the most serious avocation of 
the aristocracy in the days of the greatest corruption. 
They had around them a regular court of parasites and 
flatterers, and they employed even persons of high rank as 
their chamberlains and stewards. Carving was taught in 
celebrated schools, and the masters of this sublime art 
were held in higher estimation than philosophers or poets. 
Says Juvenal : — 

" To such perfection now is carving brought, 
That different gestures, by our curious men 
Are used for different dishes, hare or hen." 

Their entertainments were accompanied with every thing 
which could flatter vanity or excite the passions. Excessive 
Musicians, male and female dancers, players of ^^""^y- 
flirce and pantomime, jesters, buffoons, and gladiators, 
exhibited while the quests reclined at table. The tables 
were made of Thuja-root, with claws of ivory or Delian 
bronze, and cost immense sums. Even Cicero, in an 
economical age, paid six hundred and fifty pounds for his 
banqueting table. These tables were waited upon by an 
army of slaves, clad in costly dresses. In the intervals of 
courses they played with dice, or listened to music, or were 
amused with dances. They wore a great profusion of 
jewels — such as necklaces and rings and bracelets. They 
reclined at table after the fashion of the Orientals. They 
ate, as delicacies, water-rats and white worms. Gluttony 
was carried to such a point that the sea and earth scarcely 



406 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire, [Chap. x. 

sufficed to set off their tables. The women passed whole 
nights at the table, and were proud of their power to 
carry off an excess of wine. As Cleopatra says of her 
riotino;s with Antony, — 

" times ! — 
I laughed him out of patience ; and that night 
I laughed him into patience : and next mom, 
Ere the ninth hour, I drank him to his bed." 

The wines were often kept for two ages, and some quali- 
Luxuryof ties were so highly prized as to sell for about 

thearistoc- in t i 

racy. twenty dollars an ounce. Large hogs were 

roasted whole at a banquet. The ancient epicures expa- 
tiate on ram's-head pies, stuffed fowls, boiled calf, and 
pastry stuffed with raisins and nuts. Dishes were made 
of gold and silver, set with precious stones. Cicero and 
Pompey one day surprised Lucullus at one of his ordinary 
banquets, when he expected no guests, and even that cost 
fifty thousand drachmas — about four thousand dollars. 
His beds were of purple, and his vessels glittered with 
jewels. The halls of Heliogabalus were hung with 
cloth of gold, enriched with jewels. His beds were of 
massive silver, his table and plate of pure gold, and his 
mattresses, covered with carpets of cloth of gold, w^ere 
stuffed with down found only under the wings of partridges. 
Crassus paid one hundred thousand sesterces for a golden 
cup. Banqueting rooms were strewed with lilies and 
roses. Apicius, in the time of Trajan, spent one hundred 
millions of sesterces in debauchery and gluttony. Having 
only ten millions left, he ended his life with poison, think- 
ing he might die of hunger. The suppers of Heliogabalus 
never cost less than one hundred thousand sesterces. And 
things were valued for their cost and rarity, rather than 
their real value. Enormous prices were paid for carp, 
the favorite dish of the Romans. Drusillus, a freedman of 
Claudius, caused a dish to be made of five hundred pounds 
weight of silver. Vitellius had one made of such pro- 



( 



Chap. X.] Luxury and Folly of the Nobles, 407 

digions size that they were obliged to build a furnace on 
purpose for it ; and at a feast in honor of this dish which 
he gave, it was filled with the livers of the scarrus (fish), 
the brains of peacocks, the tongues of a bird of red plumage, 
called Phsesuicopterus, and the roes of lampreys caught in 
the Carpathian Sea. Falernian wine was never drunk 
until ten years old, and it was generally cooled with ices. 
The passion for play was universal. Nero ven- luxury of 
tared four hundred thousand sesterces on a single *^^'^<'^^^^- 
throw of the dice. Cleopatra, when she feasted Antony, 
gave each time to tliat general the gold vessels, enriched 
with jewels, the tapestry and purple carpets, embroidered 
with gold, which had been used in the repasts. Horace 
speaks of a debauchee who drank at a meal a goblet of 
vinegar, in which he dissolved a pearl worth a million of 
sesterces, Avhich hung at the ear of his mistress. Precious 
stones were so common that a woman of the utmost simplicity 
dared not go without her diamonds. Even men wore jewels, 
especially elaborate rings, and upon all the fingers at last. 
The taste of the Roman aristocracy, with their immense 
fortunes, inclined them to pomp, to extravagance, to osten- 
tatious modes of living, to luxurious banquets, to conven- 
tionalities and ceremonies, to an unbounded epicureanism. 
They lived for the present hour, and for sensual pleasures. 
There was no elevation of life. It was the body and not 
the soul, the present and not the future, which alone con- 
cerned them. They were grossly material in all their desires 
and habits. They squandered money on their banquets, 
their stables, and their dress. And it was to their crimes, 
says Juvenal, that they were indebted for their gardens, 
their palaces, their tables, and their fine old plate. The 
day was portioned out in the public places, in the bath, the 
banquet. Martial indignantly rebukes these extravagances, 
as unable to purchase happiness, in his Epigram to Quin- 
tus : " Because you purchase slaves at two hundred thousand 
sesterces ; because you drink wines stored during the reign 



408 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

of Numa ; because your furniture costs you a million ; be- 
cause a pound weight of wrought silver costs you five 
thousand ; because a golden chariot becomes yours at the 
price of a whole farm ; because your mule costs you more 
than the value of a house — do not imagine that such ex- 
penses are the proof of a great mind." ^ 

Unbounded pride, insolence, inhumanity, selfishness, and 
scorn marked this noble class. Of course there were ex- 
ceptions, but the historians and satirists give the saddest 
pictures of their cold-hearted depravity. The sole result 
of friendship with a great man was a meal, at which flat- 
tery and sycophancy were expected ; but the best wine was 
drunk by the host, instead of by the guest. Provinces were 
ransacked for fish and fowl and game for the tables of the 
great, and sensualism was thought to be no reproach. They 
violated the laws of chastity and decorum. They scourged 
to death their slaves. They degraded their wives and sis- 
ters. The}' patronized the most demoralizing sports. They 
enriched themselves by usury, and enjoyed monopolies. 
They practiced no generosity, except at their banquets, 
when ostentation balanced tlieir avarice. They measured 
every thing by the money-standard. They had no taste for 
literature, but they rewarded sculptors and painters, if 
they prostituted art to their vanity or passions. They had 
no reverence for religion, and ridiculed the gods. Their 
distinguishing vices were meanness and servihty, the pur- 
suit of money by every artifice, the absence of honor, and 
unblushincr sensualitv. 

Gibbon has eloquently abridged the remarks of Am- 
Gibbon's miauus JMarcelHuus, respecting these people : 

account of ^, , . , . , . , 

the nobles. '' i hcy couteud witli each other ni the empty 
vanity of titles and surnames. They affect to multi})ly their 
likenesses in statues of bronze or marble ; nor are they sat- 
isHed unless these statues are covered with plates of gold. 
Tliey boast of the rent-rolls of their estates. They meas- 

1 Book iii. p. 62. 



Chap. X.] Sarcasms of Ammianus Marcellinus. 409 

ure their rank and consequence by the loftiness of their 
chariots, and the weighty magnificence of their dress. Their 
long robes of silk and purple float in the wind, and, as they 
are agitated by art or accident, they discover the under gar- 
ments, the rich tunics embroidered with the figures of various 
animals. Followed by a train of fifty servants, and tear- 
ing up the pavement, they move along the streets as if 
they traveled with post-horses ; and the example of the 
senators is boldly imitated by the matrons and ladies, 
w^hose covered carriages are continually driving round 
the immense space of the city and suburbs. When- 
ever they condescend to enter the public baths, they 
assume, on their entrance, a tone of loud and insolent com- 
mand, and maintain a haughty demeanor, which, perhaps, 
might have been excused in the great Marcellus, after the 
conquest of Syracuse. Sometimes these heroes undertake 
more arduous achievements : they visit their estates in 
Italy, and procure themselves, by servile hands, the amuse- 
ments of the chase. And if, at any time, especially on a 
hot day, they have the courage to sail in their gilded galleys 
from the Lucrine Lake to their elegant villas on the sea- 
coast of Puteoli and Cargeta, they compare these expedi- 
tions to the marches of Caesar and Alexander. Yet, should 
a fly presume to settle on the silken folds of their gilded 
umbrellas, should a sunbeam penetrate through. some un- 
guarded chink, they deplore their intolerable hardships, 
and lament, in affected language, that they were sarcasms of 
not born in the regions of eternal darkness. In Marceuiaus. 
the exercise of domestic jurisdiction they express an ex- 
quisite sensibiUty for any personal injury, and a contempt- 
uous indifference for the rest of mankind. When they 
have called for warm water, should a slave be tardy in his 
obedience, he is chastised with an hundred lashes ; should 
he commit a willful murder, his master will mildly observe 
that he is a worthless fellow, and should be punished if he 
repeat the offense. If a foreigner of no contemptible rank 



410 Internal Co7idition of the Roman Empire, [Chap. x. 

be introduced to these senators, he is welcomed with such 
warm professions that he retires charmed with their affa- 
bility ; but when he repeats his visit, he is surprised and 
mortified to find that his name, his person, and his country 
are forgotten. The modest, the sober, and the learned are 
rarely invited to their sumptuous banquets ; but the most 
worthless of mankind — parasites who applaud every look 
and gesture, who gaze with rapture on marble columns and 
variegated pavements, and strenuously praise the pomp and 
elegance which he is taught to consider as a part of his 
personal merit. At the Roman table, the birds, the squir- 
rels, the fish which appear of uncommon size, are contem- 
plated with curious attention, and notaries are summoned 
to attest, by authentic record, their real weight. Another 
method of introduction into the houses of the great is skill 
in games, which is a sure road to wealth and reputation. 
A master of this sublime art, if placed, at a supper, below 
a magistrate, displays in his countenance a surprise and 
indignation which Cato might be supposed to feel when re- 
fused the prgetorship. The acquisition of knowledge seldom 
engages the attention of the nobles, who abhor tlie fatigue 
and disdain the advantages of study ; and the only books 
they peruse are the ' Satires of Juvenal,' or the fabulous 
histories of Marius Maximus. The libraries they have in- 
herited from their fathers are secluded, like dreary sepul- 
chres, from the light of day ; but the costly instruments 
of the theatre, flutes and hydraulic organs, are constructed 
for their use. In their palaces sound is preferred to sense, 
and the care of the body to that of the mind. The suspicion 
of a malady is of sufficient weight to excuse the visits of 
the most intimate friends. The prospect of gain will urge 
a rich and gouty senator as far as Spoleta ; every senti- 
ment of arrogance and dignity is suppressed in the hope of 
an inheritance or legacy, and a wealthy, childless citizen 
is the most powerful of the Romans. The distress wdiich 
follows and chastises extravagant luxury often reduces the 



Chap. X.] Cliaracter of the Roman Nobles, 411 

great to use the most humiliating expedients. When they 
wish to borrow, they employ the base and supplicating style 
of the slaves in the comedy ; but when they are called 
upon to pay, they assume the royal and tragic declamations 
of the grandsons of Hercules. If the demand is repeated, 
they readily procure some trusty sycophant to maintain a 
charge of poison or magic against the insolent creditor, who 
is seldom released from prison until he has signed a dis- 
charge of the whole debt. And these vices are mixed with 
a puerile superstition which disgraces their understanding. 
They listen with confidence to the productions of haru- 
spices, who pretend to read in the entrails of victims the 
signs of future greatness and prosperity ; and this super- 
stition is observed among those very skeptics who impiously 
deny or doubt the existence of a celestial power." ^ 

Such, in the latter days of the empire, was the leading 
class at Rome, and probably in the cities which aped the 
fashions of the capital. There was a melancholy absence 
of elevation of sentiment, of patriotism, of manly courage, 
and of dignity of character. Frivolity and luxury loosened 
all the ties of society. The animating principle of their lives 
was a heartless Epicureanism. They lived for the present 
hour, and for their pleasures, indifferent to the great inter- 
ests of the public, and to the miseries of the poor. They 
were bound up in themselves. They were grossly mate- 
rial in all their aims. They had lost all ideas of public 
virtue. They degraded women ; they oppressed the peo- 
ple ; they laughed at philanthropy ; they could not be 
reached by elevated sentiments ; they had no concern for 
the future. Scornful, egotistical, haughty, self-indulgent, 
affected, cynical, all their thoughts and conversation were 
directed to frivolities. Nothing made any impression upon 
them but passing vanities. They ignored both Heaven and 
Hell. They were like the courtiers of Louis XV. in the 

1 Found in the sixth chapter of the fourteenth, and the fourth of the twenty- 
eighth, book of Ammianus MarceUinus. 



412 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire, [Chap. x. 

most godless period of the monarchy. They were worse, 
for they superadded pagan infidelities. There were mem- 
orable exceptions, but not many, until Christianity had 
reached the throne. " One after another, the nobles sunk 
into a lethargy almost without a parallel. The proudest 
names of the old republic were finally associated with the 
idlest amusements and the most preposterous novelties. A 
Gabrius, a Callius, and a Crassus were immortalized by the 
elegance of their dancing. A Lucullus, a Hortensius, a 
Philippus estimated one another, not by their eloquence, 
their courage, or their virtue, but by the perfection of their 
fish-ponds, and the singularity of the breeds they nourished. 
They seemed to touch the sky with their finger if they 
had stocked their preserves with bearded mullets, and 
taught them to recognize their masters' voices, and come 
to be fed from their hands." ^ 

As for the miserable class whom they oppressed, their 
condition became worse every day from the accession of the 
emperors. The Plebeians had ever disdained those arts 
which now occupy the middle classes. These were in- 
trusted to slaves. Originally, they employed themselves 
upon the lands which had been obtained by conquest. But 
these lands were gradually absorbed or usurped by the 
large proprietors. The small farmers, oppressed witli debt 
and usury, parted with their lands to their wealthy cred- 
itors. In the time of Cicero, it was computed that there 
were only about two thousand citizens possessed of inde- 
pendent property. These two thousand people owned the 
world. The rest were dependent ; and they were power- 
less when deprived of political rights, for the great candi- 
date for public honors and offices liberally paid for votes. 
But under the emperors the commons had subsided into 
a miserable populace, fed from the public stores. They 
would have perished but for largesses. Monthly distribu- 
tions of corn were converted into daily allowance for 

1 Merivale, chap. ii. 



Chap. X.] Condition of the People, 413 

bread. They were amused with games and festivals. 
From the stately baths they might be seen to issue without 
shoes and without a mantle. They loitered in the public 
streets, and dissipated in gaming their miserable pittance. 
They spent the hours of the night in the lowest resorts of 
crime and misery. As many as four hundred thousand 
sometimes assembled to witness the chariot races. The 
vast theatres were crowded to see male and female dancers. 
The amphitheatres were still more largely attended by 
the better populace. They expired in wretched apart- 
ments without attracting the attention of government. 
Pestilence and famine and squalid misery thinned their 
ranks, and they would- have been annihilated but for con- 
stant succession to their ranks from the provinces. In the 
busy streets of Rome might be seen adventurers from all 
parts of the world, disgraced by all the various vices of 
their respective countries. They had no education, and 
but little of religious advantages. They were held in ter- 
ror by both priests and nobles. The priest terrified them 
with Egyptian sorceries, the noble crushed them by iron 
weight. Like lazzaroni, they lived in the streets, or were 
crowded into filthy apartments. Several families tenanted 
the same house. A gladiatorial show delighted them, but 
the circus was their peculiar joy. Here they sought to 
drown the consciousness of their squalid degradation. They 
were sold into slavery for trifling debts. They had no 
home. The poor man had no ambition or hope. His wife 
was a slave; his children were precocious de- condition of 
mons, whose prattle was the cry for bread, whose *^^ people. 
laughter was the howl of pandemonium, whose sports were 
the tricks of premature iniquity, whose beauty was the 
squalor of disease and filth. He fled from a wife in whom 
he had no trust, from children in whom he had no hope, 
from brothers for whom he felt no sympathy, from parents 
for whom he felt no reverence. The circus was Ms home, 
the wild beast his consolation. The future was a blank. 



414 Intejiial Condition of the Roman Umpire. [Chap. x. 

Death was the release from suffering. Historians and poets 
say but little of his degraded existence ; but from the few 
hints we have, we infer depravity and brutal tastes. If 
degraded at all, they must have been very degraded, since 
the Romans had but little sentiment, and no ideality. 
They were sunk in vice, for they had no sense of responsi- 
bility. They never emerged from their wretched condi- 
tion. The philosophers, poets, scholars, and lawyers of 
Rome, sprang uniformly from the aristocratic classes. 
In the provinces, the poor sometimes rose, but very sel- 
dom. The whole aspect of society was a fearful inequal- 
ity — disproportionate fortunes, slavery, and beggary. 
There was no middle class, of any influence or considera- 
tion. It was for the interest of people without means to 
enroll themselves in the service of the rich. Hence the 
immense numbers employed in the palaces in menial work. 
They would have been enrolled in the armies, but for 
their inefficiency. The army was recruited from the prov- 
inces — the rural population — and even from the barba- 
rians themselves. There were no hospitals for the sick 
and the old, except one on an island in the Tiber. The 
old and helpless were left to die, unpitied and unconsoled. 
Suicide was so common that it attracted no attention, but 
infanticide was not so marked, since there was so little 
feeling of compassion for the future fate of the miserable 
children. Superstition culminated at Rome, for there were 
seen the priests and devotees of all the countries which it 
governed — " the dark-skinned daughters of Isis, with 
drum and timbrel and wanton mien ; devotees of the Per- 
sian Mithras, imported by the Pompeians from Cilicia; 
emasculated Asiatics, priests of Berecynthian Cybele, with 
their wild dances and discordant cries ; worshipers of the 
great goddess Diana ; barbarian captives with the rites of 
Teuton priests ; Syrians, Jews, Chaldean astrologers, and 
Thessalian sorcerers." Oh, what scenes of sin and misery 
did that imperial capital witness in the third and fourth 



Chap. X.] The Slaves. 415 

centuries — sensualism and superstition, fears and tribula- 
tions, pestilence and famine, even amid the pomps of sen- 
atorial families, and tlie grandeur of palaces and temples. 
" The crowds which flocked to Rome from the eastern 
shores of the Mediterranean, brought with them practices 
extremely demoralizino;. The awfal rites of initiation, the 
tricks of magicians, the pretended virtues of amulets and 
charms, the riddles of emblematical idolatry, with which 
the superstition of the East abounded, amused the languid 
voluptuaries who neither had the energy for a moral belief, 
nor the boldness requisite for logical skepticism." They 
were brutal, bloodthirsty, callous to the sight of suffering, 
and familiar with cruelties and crimes. They were super- 
stitious, without religious faith, without hope, and without 
God in the world. 

We cannot pass by, in this enumeration of the differ- 
ent classes of Roman society, the number and condition 
of slaves. A large part of the population belonged to this 
servile class. Originally introduced by foreign conquest, 
it was increased by those who could not pay their debts. 
The single campaign of Regulus introduced as many as a 
fifth part of the whole population. Four hundred were 
maintained in a single palace, at a comparatively early 
period. A freedman in the time of Augustus left behind 
him four thousand one hundred and sixteen. Horace re- 
garded two hundred as the suitable establishment for a 
gentleman. Some senators owned twenty thousand. Gib- 
bon estimates the number at about sixty millions, one half 
of the whole population. One hundred thousand captives 
were taken in the Jewish war, who were sold as slaves, 
and sold as cheap as horses.^ Blair supposes that there 
were three slaves to one freeman, from the 
conquest oi Greece to the reign or Alexander 
Severus. Slaves often cost two hundred thousand ses- 

1 Wm. Blair, On Roman Slavery^ Edinburgh, 1833 ; Robertson, On the State 
of the, World at the Introduction of Christ. 



416 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. X. 

terces.^ Every body was eager to possess a slave. At- 
one time his life was at the absolute control of his master. 
He could be treated at all times with brutal severity. 
Fettered and branded he toUed to cultivate the lands 
of an imperious master, and at night he was shut up 
in subterranean cells. The laws did not recocrnize his 
claim to be considered scarcely as a moral agent. He was 
secundum hominum genus. He could acquire no rights, 
social or political. He was incapable of inheriting prop- 
ertv, or makino; a will, or contractino; a lea;al marriao;e. 
His value was estimated like that of a brute. He w^as a 
thing and not a person — "a piece of furniture possessed 
of life." He was his master's property, to be scourged, 
or tortured, or crucified. If a wealthy proprietor died, 
under circumstances which excited suspicion of foul play, 
his whole household was put to the torture. It is recorded, 
that, on the murder of a man of consular dignity by a 
slave, every slave in his possession was condemned to 
death. Slaves swelled the useless rabbles of the cities, 
and devoured the revenues of the state. All manual labor 
was done by slaves, in towns as well as the country. Even 
the mechanical arts were cultivated by the slaves. And 
more, slaves were schoolmasters, secretaries, actors, musi- 
cians, and physicians. In intelligence, they were on an 
equality with their masters. They came from Greece and 
Asia Minor and Syria, as well as from Gaul and the Afri- 
can deserts. They were white as well as black. All cap- 
tives in war were made slaves, and unfortunate debtors. 
Sometimes they could regain their freedom ; but, generally, 
their condition became more and more deplorable. What 
a state of society when a refined and cultivated Greek 
could be made to obey the most offensive orders of a capri- 
cious and sensual Roman, without remuneration, without 
thanks, without favor, without redress.^ What was to be 

1 Martial, xii. 62. 

2 Says Juvenal, Sat. vi., " Crucify that slave. What is the charge to call for 



Chap. X.] Degradation of Woman, 417 

expected of a class who had no object to live for. They 
became the most degraded of mortals, ready for pillage, 
and justly to be feared in the hour of danger. Slavery 
undoubtedly proved the most destructive canker 

o ^ -r\ T ^ ^ ' •!• T Slavery. 

of the Roman state. It destroyed its vitality, it 
was this social evil, more than political misrule, which un- 
dermined the empire. Slavery proved at Rome a mon- 
strous curse, destroying all manliness of character, creating 
contempt of honest labor, making men timorous yet cruel, 
idle, frivolous, weak, dependent, powerless. The empire 
might have lasted centuries longer but for this incubus, 
the standing disgrace of the pagan world. Paganism 
never recognized what is most noble and glorious in man ; 
never recognized his equality, his common brotherhood, his 
natural rights. There was no compunction, no remorse in 
depriving human beings of their highest privileges. Its 
whole tendency was to degrade the soul, and cause forget- 
fulness of immortality. Slavery thrives best, when the 
generous instincts are suppressed, and egotism and sensu- 
ality and pride are the dominant springs of human action. 
The same influences which tended to rob man of the 
rights which God has given him, and produce cruelty 
and heartlessness in the general intercourse of life, also 
tended to degrade the female sex. In the earlier age 
of the republic, when the people were poor, and life was 
simple and primitive, and heroism and patriotism were 
characteristic, woman was comparatively virtuous and re- 
spected. She asserted her natural equality, and led a 
life of domestic tranquillity, employed upon the training 
of her children, and inspiring her husband to noble deeds. 
But, under the emperors, these virtues had fled. Woman 
was miserably educated, being taught by a slave, or some 
Greek chambermaid, accustomed to ribald conversation, 

such a punishment? What witness can you present? "Who gave the informa- 
tion? Listen! Idiot! So a slave is a man then! Granted he has done noth- 
ing. I loill it. I insist upon it. Let my will stand instead of reason." Head 
INIartial, Juvenal, and Plautus. 
27 



418 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

and fed witli idle tales and silly superstitions. She was 
regarded as more vicious in natural inclination than man, 
and was chiefly valued for household labors. She \vas 
reduced to dependence ; she saw but little of her brothers 
or relatives ; she was confined to her home as if it were a 
prison ; she w^as guarded by eunuchs and female slaves ; she 
was given in marriage without her consent ; she could be 
easily divorced ; she was valued only as a domestic servant, 
or as an animal to prevent the extinction of families ; she 
was regarded as the inferior of her husband, to whom she 
was a victim, a toy, or a slave. Love after marriage was not 
frequent, since she did not shine in the virtues by which 
love is kept alive. She became timorous, or frivolous, 
without dignity or public esteem. Her happiness was in 
extravagant attire, in elaborate hair-dressings, in rings 
and bracelets, in a retinue of servants, in gilded apart- 
ments, in luxurious couches, in voluptuous dances, in ex- 
citing banquets, in demoralizing spectacles, in frivolous 
gossip, in inglorious idleness. If virtuous, it was not so 
much from principle as from fear. Hence she resorted to 
all sorts of arts to deceive her husband. Her genius was 
sharpened by perpetual devices, and cunning was her great 
resource. She cultivated no lofty friendships ; she en- 
DeCTadation S^S^^ ^" ^^^ philanthropic mission ; she cherished 
of woman, no eunobliug scntimcuts ; she kindled no chival- 
rous admiration. Her amusements were frivolous, her 
taste vitiated, her education neglected, her rights violated, 
her sympathy despised, her aspirations scorned. And here 
I do not allude to great and infamous examples which his- 
tory has handed down in the sober pages of Suetonius and 
Tacitus, or that unblushing depravity which stands out in 
the bitter satires of the times. I speak not of the adultery, 
the poisoning, the infanticide, the debauchery, the cruelty 
of which history accuses the Messalinas and Agrippinas of 
imperial Rome. I allude not to the orgies of the Palatine 
Hill, or the abominations which are inferred from the paint- 



Chap. X.] Women. 419 

ings of Pompeii. But there was a general frivolity and 
extravagance among women which rendered marriage inex- 
pedient, unless large dowries were brought to the husband. 
Numerous were the efforts of emperors to promote honora- 
ble marriages, but the relation was shunned. Courtesans 
usurped the privilege of wives, and with unblushing effront- 
ery. A man was derided who contemplated matrimony, 
for there was but little confidence in female virtue or ca- 
pacity. And woman lost all her fascination when age had 
destroyed her beauty. Even her very virtues were dis- 
tasteful to her self-indulgent husband. And whenever 
she gained the ascendency by her charms, she was tyran- 
nical. Her relations incited her to despoil her husband. 
She lived amid incessant broils. She had no care for the 
future, and exceeded men in prodigality. " The govern- 
ment of her house is no more merciful," says Juvenal, 
" than the court of a Sicihan tyrant." In order to render 
herself attractive, she exhausted all the arts of cosmetics 
and elaborate hair-dressins;. She delighted in mamcal in- 
cantations and love-potions. In the bitter satire of Juvenal, 
we get an impression most melancholy and loathsome : — 

" 'T were long to tell what philters they provide, 
What drugs to set a son-in-law aside. 
Women, in judgment weak, in feeling strong. 
By every gust of passion borne along. 
To a fond spouse a wife no mercy shows ; 
Though warmed with equal fires, she mocks his woes, 
And triumphs in his spoils ; her wayward will 
Defeats his bliss and turns his good to ill. 
Women support the 6a?" ; they love the law, 
And raise litigious questions for a straw; 
Nay, more, they fence ! who has not marked their oil, 
Their purple rigs, for this preposterous toil ! 
A woman stops at nothing, when she wears 
Rich emeralds round her neck, and in her ears 
Pearls of enormous size; these justify 
Her faults, and make all lawful in her eye. 
More shame to Rome ! in every street are found 
The essenced Lypanti, with roses crowned. 
The gay Miletan, and the Tarentine, 
Lewd, petulant, and reeling ripe with wine ! " 



420 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire, [Chap. x. 

In the sixth satire of Juvenal is found the most severe 
Condition of clehneation of woman that ever mortal penned, 
woman. Doubtless he is libellous and extravagant, for 
only infamous women can stoop to such arts and degrada- 
tions, which would seem to be common in his time. But, 
with all his exaggeration, we are forced to feel that but 
few women, even in the highest class, except those con- 
verted to Christianity, showed the virtues of a Lucretia, 
a Volumnia, a Cornelia, or an Octavia. There was but a 
universal corruption. The great virtues of a Perpetua, a 
Felicitas, an Agnes, a Paula, a Blessilla, a Fabiola, would 
have adorned any civilization. But the great mass were, 
what they were in Greece, even in the days of Pericles, 
what they have ever been under the influence of Pagan- 
ism, what they ever will be without Christianity to guide 
them, victims or slaves of man, revenging themselves by 
squandering his wealth, stealing his secrets, betraying his 
interests, and deserting his home. 

Another essential but demoralizing feature of Roman 
Games and socioty, wcre the games and festivals and gladia- 
festivaia. torial sliows, wliich accustomed the people to un- 
natural excitements, and familiarity with cruelty and suf- 
fering. They made all ordinary pleasures insipid. They 
ended in making homicide an institution. The butcheries 
of the amphitheatre exerted a fascination which diverted 
the mind from literature, art, and the enjoyments of do- 
mestic life. Very early it was the favorite sport of the 
Romans. Marcus and Decimus Brutus employed gladia- 
tors in celebrating the obsequies of their fathers, nearly 
three centuries before Christ. " The wealth and ingenuity 
of the aristocracy were taxed to the utmost, to content the 
populace and provide food for the indiscriminate slaughter 
of the circus, where brute fought with brute, and man again 
with man, or where the skill and weapons of the latter 
were matched against the strength and ferocity of the 
first." Pompey let loose six hundred lions in the arena 



Chap. X.] Games and Festivals. 421 

in one day. Augustus delighted the people with four hun- 
dred and twenty panthers. The games of Trajan lasted 
one hundred and twenty days, when ten thousand gladia- 
tors fought, and ten thousand beasts were slain. Titus 
slauo-htered five thousand animals at a time. Twenty ele- 
phants contended, according to Pliny, against a band of 
six hundred captives. Probus reserved six hundred glad- 
iators for one of his festivals, and massacred, on another, 
two hundred lions, twenty leopards, and three hundred 
bears. Gordian let loose three hundred African hyenas and 
ten Indian tigers in the arena. Every corner of the earth 
was ransacked for these wild animals, which were so highly 
valued that, in the time of Theodosius, it was forbidden by 
law to destroy a Getulian lion. No one can contemplate 
the statue of the Dying Gladiator which now ornaments the 
capitol at Rome, without emotions of pity and admiration. 
If a marble statue can thus move us, what was it to see 
the Christian gladiators contending with the fierce lions of 
Africa. The " Christians to the lions," was the watch- 
word of the brutal populace. What a sight was the old 
amphitheatre of Titus, five hundred and sixty feet long, 
and four hundred and seventy feet wide, built on eighty 
arches, and rising one hundred and forty feet into the air, 
with its four successive orders of architecture, and inclosing 
its eighty thousand seated spectators, arranged according 
to rank, from the emperor to the lowest of the populace, 
all seated on marble benches, covered with cushions, and 
protected from the sun and rain by ample canopies ! What 
an excitement when men strove not with wild beasts alone, 
but with one another, and when all that human skill and 
strength, increased by elaborate treatment, and taxed to 
the uttermost, were put forth in the needless homicide, and 
until the thirsty soil was wet and matted with human gore ! 
Familiarity with such sights must have hardened the heart 
and rendered the mind insensible to refined pleasures. 
What theatres are to the French, what bull-fights are to 



422 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

the Spaniards, what horse-races are to the Enghsh, these 
gladiatorial shows were to the ancient Romans. The ruins 
of hundreds of amphitheatres attest the universality of the 
custom, not in Rome alone, but in the provinces. 

The sports of the circus took place from the earliest 
periods. The Circus Maximus was capable of 

The circus. . . i i i i • i i 

contammg two hundred and sixty thousand, as 
estimated by Pliny. It was appropriated for horse and 
chariot races. The enthusiasm of the Romans for races 
exceeded all bounds. Lists of the horses, with their names 
and colors, and those of drivers, were handed about, and 
heavy bets made on each faction. The games commenced 
with a grand procession, in which all persons of distinc- 
tion, and those who were to exhibit, took part. The stat- 
ues of the gods formed a conspicuous feature in the show, 
and were carried on the shoulders as saints are carried in 
modern processions. The chariots were often drawn by 
eight horses, and four generally started in the race. 

The theatre was also a great place of resort. Scaurus 
built one capable of seating eighty thousand spectators. 
That of Pompey, near the Circus Maximus, could contain 
forty thousand. But the theatre had not the same attrac- 
tion to the Romans that it had to the Greeks. They pre- 
ferred scenes of pomp and splendor. 

No people probably abandoned themselves to pleasures 
The circus niorc uuiversally than the Romans, after war 
and theatre, c^^sed to be the master passion. All classes alike 
pursued them with restless eagerness. Amusements were 
the fashion and the business of life. At the theatre, at the 
great gladiatorial shows, at the chariot races, senators and 
emperors and generals were always present in conspicuous 
and reserved seats of honor ; behind them were the ordi- 
nary citizens, and in the rear of these, the people fed at the 
public expense. The Circus Maximus, the Theatre of 
Pompey, the Amphitheatre of Titus, would collectively 
accommodate over four hundred thousand spectators. We 



chap.x.] Baths, 423 

may presume that over five hundred thousand people were 
in the habit of constant attendance on these demorahzing 
sports. And the fashion spread throughout all the great 
cities of the empire, so that there was scarcely a city of 
twenty thousand people which had not its theatres, or am- 
phitheatres, or circus. The enthusiasm of the Romans for 
the circus exceeded all bounds. And when we remember 
the heavy bets on favorite horses, and the universal passion 
for gambling in every shape, we can form some idea of the 
effect of these amusements on the common mind, destroy- 
ing the taste for home pleasures, and for all that was intel- 
lectual and simple. What are we to think of a state of 
society, where all classes had leisure for these sports. 
Habits of industry were destroyed, and all respect for em- 
ployments which required labor. The rich were supported 
by the contributions from the provinces, since they were 
the great proprietors of conquered lands. The poor had 
no soHcitude for a living, for they were supported at the 
public expense. They, therefore, gave themselves up to 
pleasure. Even the baths, designed for sanatory purposes, 
became places of resort and idleness, and ultimately of 
improper intercourse. When the thermae came fully into 
public use, not only did men bathe together in numbers, but 
even men and women promiscuously in the same baths. 
In the time of Julius Caesar, we find no less a personage 
than the mother of Augustus making use of the public 
establishments ; and in process of time the emperors them- 
selves bathed in public with the meanest of their subjects. 
The baths in the time of Alexander Severus 

, , ^ . Bath3. 

were not only kept open trom sunrise to sunset, 
but even the whole night. The luxurious classes almost 
lived in the baths. Commodus took his meals in the bath. 
Gordian bathed seven times in the day, and Gallienus as 
often. They bathed before they took their meals, and 
after meals to provoke a new appetite. They did not con- 
tent themselves with a single bath, but went through a 



424 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap, x 

course of baths in succession, in which the agency of air 
as, well as water was applied. And the bathers were at- 
tended by an army of slaves given over to every sort of 
roguery and theft. '•''Ofurum optume hahnarioru7n,^^ ex- 
claims Catullus, in diso-ust and indio-nation. Nor was 
water alone used. The common people made use of 
scented oils to anoint their persons, and perfumed the 
water itself wdth the most precious perfumes. Bodily 
health and cleanliness were only secondary considerations ; 
voluptuous pleasure was the main object. The ruins of the 
baths of Titus, Caracalla, and Diocletian, in Rome, show 
that they were decorated w^ith prodigal magnificence, and 
w^ith every thing that could excite the passions — pictures, 
statues, ornaments, and mirrors. Says Seneca, Epistle 
Ixxxvi., '''- Wisi parietes magids et preciosis orhihus refulse' 
runt.^^ The baths were scenes of orgies consecrated to 
Bacchus, and the frescoes on the excavated baths of Pom- 
peii still raise a blush on the face of every spectator who 
visits them. I speak not of the elaborate ornaments, the 
Numidian marbles, the precious stones, the exquisite sculpt- 
ures, which formed part of the decorations of the Roman 
baths, but the demoralizing pleasures with which they were 
connected, and wdiich they tended to promote. The baths 
became, according to the ancient writers, ultimately places 
of excessive and degrading debauchery. 

" Balnea, vina, Venas corrumpunt corpora nostra.''^ 

The Romans, originally, were not only frugal, but they 
Dress and drcsscd with great simplicity. In process of 
ornament, time, they became extravagantly fond of elabo- 
rately ornamented attire, particularly the women. They 
w^ore a great variety of rings and necklaces ; they dyed 
their hair, and resorted to expensive cosmetics ; they wore 
silks of various colors, magnificently embroidered. Pearls 
and rubies, for which large estates had been exchanged, 
were suspended from their ears. Their hair glistened 



Chap. X.] Roman Banquets, 425 

with a net-work of golden thread. Their stolss were or- 
namented with purple bands, and fastened with diamond 
clasps, while their pallas trailed along the ground. Jewels 
were embroidered upon their sandals, and golden bands, 
pins, combs, and pomades raised the hair in a storied edi- 
fice upon the forehead. They reclined on luxurious 
couches, and rode in silver chariots. Their time was spent 
in paying and receiving visits, at the bath, the spectacle, 
and the banquet. Tables, supported on ivory columns, 
displayed their costly plate ; silver mirrors were hung 
against the walls, and curious chests contained their jewels 
and money. Bronze lamps lighted their chambers, and 
glass vases, imitating precious stones, stood upon their 
cupboards. Silken curtains were suspended over the 
doors and from the ceilings, and lecticse, like palanquins, 
were borne through the streets by slaves, on which re- 
clined the effeminated wives and daughters of the rich. 
Their gardens were rendered attractive by green-houses, 
flower-beds, and every sort of fruit and vine. 

But it was at their banquets the Romans displayed the 
greatest luxury and extravagance. No people ever thought 
more of the pleasures of the table. And the prodigality 
was seen not only in the indulgence of the palate by 
the choicest dainties, but in articles which commanded, 
from their rarity, the highest prices. They not only sought 
to eat daintily, but to increase their capacity by unnatural 
means. The maxim, " JZ faut manger pour vivre, et non 
pas vivre pour manger ^^^ was reversed. At the fourth hour 
they breakfasted on bread, grapes, olives, and cheese and 
eggs ; at the sixth they lunched, still more heartily ; and 
at the ninth hour they dined ; and this meal, the coena^ 
was the principal one, which consisted of three parts ; the 
first — the gustus — was made up of dishes to provoke an 
appetite, shell-fish and piquant sauces ; the second — the 
fercula — composed of different courses ; and the third — 
the dessert, a mensoi secundce — composed of fruits and 



426 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire, [Chap. x. 

pastry. Fish were the chief object of the Roman epicures, 
of which the mullus^ the rhombus, and the asellus were 
the most valued. It is recorded that a mulhis (sea barbel), 
weighing but eight pounds, sold for eight thousand ses- 
terces. Oysters, from the Lucrine Lake, were in great 
demand. Snails were fed in ponds for the purpose, while 
the villas of the rich had their piscinae filled with fresh or 
salt-water fish. Peacocks and pheasants were the most 
highly esteemed among poultry, although the absurdity 
prevailed of eating singing-birds. Of quadrupeds, the 
greatest favorite was the wild boar, the chief dish of a 
grand coe7ia, and came whole upon the table, and the prac- 
ticed gourmand pretended to distinguish by the taste from 
what part of Italy it came. Dishes, the very names of 
which excite disgust, were used at fashionable banquets, 
and held in high esteem. Martial devotes two entire books 
of his " Epigrams " to the various dishes and ornaments of 
a Roman banquet. He refers to almost every fruit and 
vegetable and meat that we now use — to cabbages, leeks, 
turnips, asparagus, beans, beets, peas, lettuces, radishes, 
mushrooms, truffles, pulse, lentils, among vegetables ; to 
pheasants, ducks, doves, geese, capons, pigeons, partridges, 
peacocks, Numidian fowls, cranes, woodcocks, swans, among 
birds ; to mullets, lampreys, turbots, oysters, prawns, 
chars, murices, gudgeons, pikes, sturgeons, among fish ; 
to raisins, figs, quinces, citrons, dates, plums, olives, apri- 
cots, among fruit ; to sauces and condiments ; to wild 
'game, and to twenty different kinds of wine ; on all of 
which he expatiates like an epicure. He speaks of the 
presents made to guests at feasts, the tablets of ivory and 
parchment, the dice-boxes, style-cases, toothpicks, golden 
hair-pins, combs, pomatum, parasols, oil-flasks, tooth-pow- 
der, balms and perfumes, slippers, dinner-couches, citron- 
tables, antique vases, gold-chased cups, snow-strainers, 
jeweled and crystal vases, rings, spoons, scarlet cloaks, 
table-covers, Cilician socks, pillows, girdles, aprons, mat- 



Chap. X.] Roman Banquets. 427 

tresses, lyres, bath-bells, statues, masks, books, musical 
instruments, and other articles of taste, luxury, or neces- 
sity. The pleasures of the table, however, are ever upper- 
most in his eye, and the luxuries of those whom he could 
not rival, but which he reprobates : — 

" Kor mullet delights thee, nice Betic, nor thrush ; 
The hare with the scut, nor the boar with the tusk; 
No sweet cakes or tablets, thy taste so absurd, 
Nor Libya need send thee, nor Phasis, a bird. 
But capers and onions, besoaking in brine. 
And brawn of a gammon scarce doubtful are thine. 
"Of garbage, or flitch of hoar tunny, thou 'rt vain ; 
The rosin's thy joy, the Falernian thy bane." i 

He thus describes a modest dinner, to w^hich he, a poet, 
invites his friend Turariius : " If you are suffer- ^ ^^^^.^ 
ing from dread of a melancholy dinner at home, '^^^^®^- 
or would take a preparatory whet, come and feast wdth me. 
You will find no want of Cappadocian lettuces and strong 
leeks. The tunny will lurk under slices of egg ; a cauli- 
flower hot enough to burn your fingers, and which has just 
left the garden, will be served fresh on a black platter ; 
white sausages will float on snow-white porridge, and 
the pale bean will accompany the red-streaked bacon. In 
the second course, raisins will be set before you, and pears 
which pass for Syrian, and roasted chestnuts. The wine 
you will prove in drinking it. After all this, excellent 
olives will come to your relief, with the hot vetch and the 
tepid lupine. The dinner is small, who can deny it ? but 
you will not have to invent falsehoods, or hear them in- 
vented ; you will recline at ease, and with your own natu- 
ral look ; the host wall not read aloud a bulky volume of 
his own compositions, nor will licentious girls, from shame- 
less Cadiz, be there to gratify you with wanton attitudes ; 
but the small reed pipe will be heard, and the nice Clau- 
dia, whose society you value even more than mine." ^ 

How different this poet's dinner, a table spread without 
luxury, and enlivened by wit and friendship, from that 

1 Martial, b. iii. p. 77. 2 jj^d. b. v. p. 78. 



428 Internal Co7idition of the Roman Empire. [Chap, x 

which Petronius describes of a rich freedman, which was 
more after the fashion of the vulgar and luxurious gour- 
mands of his day. 

Next to the pleasures of the table, the passion for ex- 
pensive furniture seemed to be the prevailing folly. We 
read of couches gemmed with tortoise-shell, and tables of 
Expensive citrou-wood from Africa. Silver and gold vases, 
furniture. Tables, also, of Mauritanian marble, supported 
on pedestals of Lybian ivory ; cups of crystal ; all 
sorts of silver plate, the masterpieces of Myro, and the 
handiwork of Praxiteles, and the engravings of Phidias. 
Gold services adorned the sideboard. Couches were cov- 
ered with purple silks. Chairs were elaborately carved ; 
costly mirrors hung against the walls, and bronze lamps 
were suspended from the painted ceilings. But it was not 
always the most beautiful articles which were most prized, 
but those which were procured with the greatest difficulty, 
or brought from the remotest provinces. That which cost 
most received uniformly the greatest admiration. 

If it were possible to allude to an evil more revolting 
jjoney ^hau the sports of the amphitheatre, or the ex- 

making. travagaut luxuries of the table, I would say that 
the universal abandonment to money-making, for the en- 
joyment of the factitious pleasures it purchased, was even 
still more melancholy, since it struck deeper into the foun- 
dations which supported society. The leading spring of life 
was money. Boys were bred from early youth to all the 
mysteries of unscrupulous gains. Usury was practiced to 
such an incredible extent that the interest on loans, in 
some instances equaled, in a few months, the whole capi- 
tal. This was the more aristocratic mode of making 
money, which not even senators disdained. The pages of 
the poets show how profoundly money was prized, and how 
miserable were people without it. Rich old bachelors, 
without heirs, were held in the supremest honor. Money 
was the first object in all matrimonial alliances, and pro- 



Chap. X.] Low Tone of Society. 429 

vided that women were only wealthy, neither bridegroom 
nor parent was fastidious as to age, or deformity, or mean- 
ness of family, or vulgarity of person. The needy descend- 
ants of the old Patricians yoked themselves with fortunate 
Plebeians, and the blooming maidens of a comfortable ob- 
scurity sold themselves, without shame or reluctance, to 
the bloated sensualists who could give them what they su- 
premely valued, chariots and diamonds. It was useless to 
appeal to elevated sentiments when happiness consisted in 
an outside, factitious life. The giddy women, in love with 
ornaments and dress, and the godless men, seeking what 
they should eat, could only be satisfied with what pur- 
chased their pleasures. The haughtiest aristocracy ever 
known on earth, tracing their lineage to the times of Cato, 
and boasting of their descent from the Scipios and the 
Pompeys, accustomed themselves at last to regard money 
as the only test of their own social position. There was no 
high social position disconnected with fortune. Even poets 
and philosophers were neglected, and gladiators and buf- 
f )ons preferred before them. The great Augustine found 
himself utterly neglected at Rome, because he was de- 
pendent on his pupils, and his pupils were mean enough 
to run away without paying. Literature languished and 
died, since it brought neither honor nor emolument. No 
dignitary was respected for his office, only for his gains ; nor 
was any office prized which did not bring rich emoluments. 
And corruption was so universal, that an official in an im- 
portant post was sure of making a fortune in a short time. 
With such an idolatry of money, all trades and professions 
fell into disrepute which were not favorable to its accumu- 
lation, while those who administered to the pleasures of 
a rich man were held in honor. Cooks, buffoons, and 
dancers, received the consideration which artists and phi- 
losophers enjoyed at Athens in the days of Pericles. But 
artists and scholars were very few indeed in the more de- 
generate days of the empire. Nor would they have had 



430 Internal Conditioyi of the Roman Empire. [Chap, x. 

influence. The wit of a Petronius, the ridicule of a 
Martial, the bitter sarcasm of a Juvenal, were lost on a 
people abandoned to frivolous gossip and demoralizing ex- 
cesses. The haughty scorn with w^hich a sensual beauty, 
living on the smiles and purse of a fortunate glutton, would 
pass, in her gilded chariot, some of the impoverished de- 
scendants of the great Camillus, might have provoked a' 
smile, had any one been found, even a neglected poet, to 
have given them countenance and sympathy. But, alas ! 
every body worshiped the shrine of Mammon. Every body 
was valued for what he had^ rather than for what he was ; 
and life was prized, not for those pleasures which are cheap 
and free as heaven, not for quiet tastes and rich affections 
and generous sympathies and intellectual genius, — the 
glorious certitudes of love, esteem, and friendship, which, 
'' be they what they may, are yet the fountain-life of all our 
day," — but for the gratification of depraved and expensive 
tastes ; those short-lived enjoyments which ended with 
the decay of appetite, and the ennui of realized expecta- 
tion, — all of the earth, earthy ; making a wreck of the 
divine image which was made for God and heaven, and 
preparing the way for a most fearful retribution, and pro- 
ducing, on contemplative minds, a sadness allied with de- 
spair, driving them to caves and solitudes, and making death 
the relief from sorrow. Cynicism, scorn, unbelief, and 
disgusting coarseness and vulgarity, made grand sentiments 
an idle dream. The fourteenth satire of Juvenal is di- 
reted mainly to the universal passion for gain, and the 
demoralizing vices it brings in its train, which made Rome 
a Pandemonium and a Vanity Fair. "Flatterers," says 
he, " consider misers as men of happy minds, since they 
admire wealth supremely, and think no instance can be 
found of a poor man that is also happy ; and therefore 
they exhort their sons to apply themselves to the arts of 
money making. Come, boys ; sack the Numidian hovels 
and the forts of Brigantes, that your sixtieth year may be- 



Chap. X.] Excessive Selfishness, 431 

stow on you the eagle which will make you rich. Or, if 
you shrink from the long-protracted labors of the camp, 
then bring something that you may profitably dispose of, 
and never let disgust of trade enter your head, nor think 
that any difference can be drawn between perfumes and 
leather. The smell of gain is good from any thing what- 
ever. No one asks you hoiv you get money, but have it 
you must." The poet Persius paints this passion for gold, 
displayed in the customs of the day, in a strain at once lofty 
and mournful, bitter and satirical : ^ — 

" that I could my rich old uncle see 
In funeral pomp ! that some deity 
To pots of buried gold would guide my share ! 
that my ward, whom I succeed as heir, 
Were once at rest ! Poor child ! he lies in pain, 
And death to him must be accounted gain. 
By will thrice has Nerius swelled his store, 
And now is he a widower once more. 
groveling souls, and void of things divine ! 
Why bring our passions to the immortal's shrine? " 

The old Greek philosophers gloried in their poverty ; but 
poverty was the greatest reproach to a Roman. " In exact 
proportion to the sum of money a man keeps in his chest," 
says Juvenal,^ " is the credit given to his oath. And the 
first question ever asked of a man is in reference to his 
income, rather than his character. How many slaves does 
he keep ? How many acres does he own ? What dishes 
are his table spread with ? — these are the universal in- 
quiries. Poverty, bitter though it be, has no sharper sting 
than this, — that it makes them ridiculous. Who was ever 
allowed at Rome to become a son-in-law if his estate was 
inferior, and not a match for the portion of the young lady ? 
What poor man's name appears in any will ? When is 
one summoned to a consultation even by an aedile ? " 

" Long, long ago, in one despairing band. 
The poor, self-exiled, should have left the land." 

And with this reproach of poverty there was no means 

1 Satire ii. 5* Satire iii. 



432 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

to escape from it. Nor was there alleviation. A man was 
regarded as a fool who gave any thing except to the rich. 
Charity and benevolence were unknown virtues. The 
sick and the miserable were left to die unlamented and un- 
known. Prosperity and success, no matter by what means 
they were purchased, secured reverence and influence. 

Indeed, the Romans were a worldly, selfish, Epicurean 
people, for whom we can feel but little admiration in any 
age of the republic. They never were finely moulded. 
They had no sentiment, unless in the earlier ages, it took 
the form of glory and patriotism. In their prosperity, they 
were proud and scornful. In adversity, they buried them- 
selves in low excesses. They were not easily moved by 
softening influences. They had no lofty idealism, like the 
Greeks ; nor were they even social, as they were. They 
were disgustingly j^ractical, Cui bono ? — " who shall show 
us any good? " — this was their by-word, this the sole prin- 
ciple of their existence. They w^ere jealous of their dig- 
nity, and carried away by pomps and show. They were 
fond of etiquette and ceremony, and were conventional in 
all their habits. They had very little true intellectual in- 
dependence, and were slaves of fashion as they w^ere of 
ceremony and dress. They were inordinately greedy of 
social position and of social distinctions. They loved titles 
and surnames and inequalities of rank. They ]:)lumed 
themselves on takino; a common-sense view of life, disdain- 
ing all lofty standards. They were dazzled by an outside 
life, and cared but little for the great certitudes on which 
real dignity and happiness rest. They had no conception 
of philanthropy. They lived for themselves. Nor had 
they veneration for ideal worth or beauty or abstract 
truth. They were reserved and reticent and haughty in 
social life. They were superstitious, and believed in dreams 
and omens and talismans. They were hospitable to their 
friends, but chiefly to display their wealth and pomp. 
They were coarse and indecent in banquets. They loved 



Chap. X.] Roman Character, 433 

money supremely, but squandered it recklessly to gratify 
vanity. They had no high conceptions of art. They were 
copyists of the Greeks, and never produced any thing orig- 
inal but jurisprudence. They did not even add to the arts 
and sciences, which they applied to practical purposes. 
Their literature never produced a sentimentalist ; their 
philosophy never soared into idealism ; their art never 
ventured upon new creations. Their supreme ambition 
was to rule, and to rule despotically. They gloried in 
slavery, and degraded women and trod upon the defense- 
less. They had no pity, no gentleness, no delicacy of feel- 
ing. They could not comprehend a disinterested action. 
They lived to eat and drink, and wear robes of purple, and 
ride in chariots of silver, and receive greetings in the 
market-place, and be attended by an army of sycophants, 
flatterers, and slaves. What was elevated and what was 
pure were laughed at as unreal, as dreamy, as transcen- 
dental. All science was directed to utilities^ and utilities 
were wines, rare fishes and birds, carpets, silks, cooking, 
palaces, chariots, horses, pomps. Their supreme idea was 
conquest, dominion over man, over beast, over seas, over 
nature — all with a view of becoming rich, comfortable, 
honorable. This was their Utopia. Epicurus was their 
god. Sensualism was the convertible term for their utili- 
ties, and pervaded their literature, their social life, and 
their public efforts ; extinguishing poetry, friendship, affec- 
tions, genius, self-sacrifice, lofty sentiments — the real util- 
ities which make up our higher life, and fit man for an 
ever-expanding felicity. Practically, they were atheists — 
unbelievers of what is fixed and immutable in the soul, 
and glorious in the soul's aspirations. They had will and 
])assion, sagacity and the power to rule, by which they 
became aggrandized ; but they were wanting in those ele- 
ments and virtues which endear their memory to mankind. 
They were both tyrants and sensualists ; fitted to make 

conquests, unfitted to enjoy them. In an important sense, 
28 



434 Internal Condition of the Roman Empire. [Chap. x. 

they were great civilizers, but their civilization pertained 
to material life. They worshiped the god of the sense, 
rather than the god of the reason ; and, compared with 
the Greeks, bequeathed but little to our times which we 
value, except laws and maxims of government, and ideas 
of centralized power. 

Such was imperial Rome, in all the internal relations of 
life, and amid all the trophies and praises which resulted 
from universal conquest. I cannot understand the enthu- 
siasm of Gibbon for such a people, or for such an empire, 
— a grinding and resistless imperial despotism, a sensual 
and proud aristocracy, a debased and ignorant populace, 
disproportionate fortunes, slavery flourishing to a state un- 
precedented in the world's history, women the victims and 
the toys of men, lax sentiments of public morality, a whole 
people given over to demoralizing sports and spectacles, 
pleasure the master passion of the people, money the main- 
spring of society, all the vices which lead to violence and 
prepare the way for the total eclipse of the glory of man. 
What was a cultivated face of nature, or palaces, or pomps, 
or a splendid material civilization, or great armies, or a 
numerous population, or the triumph of energy and skill, 
when the moral health was completely undermined ? The 
external o-randeur was nothing amid so much vice and 
wickedness and wretchedness. A world, therefore, as fair 
and glorious as our own, must needs crumble away. There 
were no proper conservative forces. The poison had de- 
scended to the extremities of the social system. A corrupt 
body must die when vitality had fled. The soul was gone. 
Principle, patriotism, virtue, had all passed away. The 
barbarians were advancing to conquer and desolate. There 
was no power to resist them, but enervated and timid 
legions, with the accumulated vices of all the nations of 
the earth, which they had been learning for four hundred 
years. Society must needs resolve itself into its original 
elements when men would not make sacrifices, and so few 
belonged to their country. The machine was sure to break 



Chap. X.] Roman Character. 435 

up at the first great shock. No state could stand with 
such an accumulation of wrongs, with such complicated and 
fatal diseases eating out the vitals of the empire. The 
house was built upon the sands. The army may have 
rallied under able generals, in view of the approaching 
catastrophe ; philosophy may have gilded the days of a few 
indignant citizens ; good emperors may have attempted to 
raise barriers against corruption ; and even Christianity 
may have converted by thousands : still nothing, ac- 
cording to natural laws, could save the empire. It was 
doomed. Retributive justice must march on in its majestic 
course. The empire had accomplished its mission. The 
time came for it to diei The Sibylline oracle must needs 
be fulfilled :" O haughty Rome, the divine chastisement 
shall come upon thee ; the fire shall consume thee ; thy 
wealth shall perish ; foxes and wolves shall dwell among 
thy ruins ; and then what land that thou hast enslaved 
shall be thy ally, and which of thy gods shall save thee ? 
for there shall be confusion over the face of the whole 
earth, and the fall of cities shall come."^ 

References. — Mr. Merivale has written most fully of modern 
writers on the condition of the empire. Gibbon has occasional para- 
graphs which show the condition of Roman society. Lyman's Life of 
the Emperors should be read, and also DeQuincy's Lives of the Caesars. 
See, also, Niebuhr, Arnold, and Mommsen, though these writers have 
chiefly confined themselves to republican Rome. But, if one would 
get the truest and most vivid description, he must read the Roman 
poets, especially Juvenal and Martial. The work of Petronius is too 
indecent to be read. Ammianus Marcellinus gives us some striking 
pictures of the latter Romans. Suetonius, in his Lives of the Caesars, 
furnishes many facts. Becker's Gallus is a fine description of Roman 
habits and customs. Smith's Dictionary of Antiquities should be con- 
sulted, as it is a great thesaurus of important facts. Lucian does not 
describe Roman manners, but he aims his sarcasms on the hollowness 
of Roman life, as do the great satirists generally. Tillemont is the 
basis of Gibbon's history, so far as pertains to the emperors. 

1 If any one thinks this general description of Roman life and manners ex- 
aggerated, he can turn from such poets as Juvenal and Martial, and read what 
St. Paul says in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE FALL OF THE EMPIRE. 

We have contemplated the grandeur and the glory of 
the Roman empire ; and we have also seen, in connection 
with the magnificent triumphs of art, science, literature, 
and philosophy, a melancholy degradation of society, so 
fatal and universal, that all strength was underm.ined, and 
nothing: was left but worn-out mechanisms and lifeless 
forms to resist the pressure of external enemies. So vast, 
so strong, so proud was this empire, that no one dreamed 
it could ever be subverted. With all the miseries of the 
people, with that hateful demoralization which pervaded 
all classes and orders and interests, there was still a splen- 
did external, which called forth general panegyrics, and 
the idea of public danger was derided or discredited. If 
Rome, in tlie infancy of the republic, had resisted the in- 
vading Gauls, what was there to fear from the half-naked 
barbarians who lived beyond the boundaries of the empire ? 
The long-continued peace and prosperity had engendered 
not merely the vices of self-interest, those destructive 
cankers which ever insure a ruin, but a general feeling of 
security and self-exaggeration. The eternal city was still 
prosperous and proud, the centre of all that was grand in 
the civilization of the ancient world. Provincial cities 
vied with the capital in luxuries, in pomps, in sports, and 
in commercial wealth. The cultivated face of nature be- 
tokened universal prosperity. Nothing was wanting but 
energy, genius, and virtue among the people. 

But all this prosperity was deceptive. All was rotten 



Chap. XI.] The Romans svffer retributive Justice, 437 

and hollow at heart ; and, had there not been universal 
delusion, it would have been apparent that the prosperity 
machine would break up at the first great shock. 'i^'^'^P*^^^*^- 
There was no spring in the splendid mechanism. It was 
broken, and society had really been retrograding from the 
time of Trajan — from the moment that it had completed 
its task of conquest. There was a strange torpor every- 
where, so soon as external antagonism had ceased, and if 
the barbarians had not come the empire would have been 
disintegrated, and would scarcely have lasted two centuries 
longer. 

Moreover, the empire had fulfilled its mission. It had 
conquered the world that a great centralization The empire 

P ... , ^ - ... had fulfilled 

ot power might be created, under which peace its mission. 
and plenty might reign, and a new religion might spread. 

Still, whatever the plans of Providence may have been 
in allowing that imperial despotism to grow and spread 
from the banks of the Tiber to the uttermost parts of the 
civilized world, we cannot but feel that a great retribution 
was deserved for the crimes which Rome had committed 
upon mankind. He that takes the sword shall perish with 
the sword. Rome had drank of the blood of millions, and 
was foul with all the abominations of the countries she had 
subdued, and her turn must come, and a new race must 
try new experiments for humanity. 

The great instrument of God in punishing wicked na- 
tions and effecting important changes, is war. war the in- 

^1 4.1. i? C V ' T ^ strumentof 

ihere are other forms or divme displeasure, pumshment. 
Plague, pestilence, and famine are often sent upon de- 
graded peoples. But these are either the necessary attend- 
ants on war itself, or they are limited and transient. They 
do not produce the great revolutions in which new ideas 
are born and new forms of social life arise. 

But war seems to be the ultimate scourge of God, when 
he dooms nations to destruction, or to great changes. It 
combines within itself all kinds of evil and calamity — 



438 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

poverty, sickness, captivity, disgrace, and death. A con- 
quered nation is most forlorn and dismal. The song of the 
conquered is — " By the rivers of Babylon we sat down 
and wept." 

The passions which produce war are born in hell. They 
are pride, ambition, cruelty, avarice, and lust. These are 
the natural causes which array nation against nation, or 
people against people. But these are second causes. The 
primary cause is God, who useth the passions and interests 
of men, as his instruments of punishment. 

How impressive the history of the different civilized 
luustrated natious, wliicli formed so large a part of the uni- 
tcfry^o^f^a- vcrsal mouarcliy of the Romans. Assyria, Egypt, 
tions. Persia, Asia Minor, Palestine, Greece, had suc- 

cessively been great empires and states - — independent and 
conquering. They arose from the prevalence of martial 
virtues, of courage, temperance, fortitude, allied with am- 
bition and poverty. Then monarchs craved greater power 
and possessions. Their passions were inexcusable ; but 
they possessed men who were powerful and not enslaved 
to enervating vices. They made war on nations sunk in 
effeminacy and vile idolatries — men worse than tliey. 
The conquered nations needed chastisement and recon- 
struction ; and, generally, by their blindness and arrogance, 
provoked the issue. Wealth and power had inflated them 
with false security, with egotistic aims ; or else had ener- 
vated them and undermined their strength. They became 
subject to a stronger power. Their pride was buried in the 
dust. They became enslaved, miserable, ruined. They 
were punished in as signal, though not miraculous manner, 
as the Antediluvians, or the cities of Sodom and Gomor- 
rah. The same hand, however^ is seen in vengeance and 
in mercy. They regained in adversity the strength they 
had lost in prosperity, and civilization lost nothing by their 
sufferincTs. 

The conquering powers, in their turn, became powerful, 



Chap. XI.] Permanence of Civilization, 439 

wealthy, and corrupt. Effeminacy and weakness succeed- 
ed; war came upon them, and they became the wars over- 
prey of the stronger. Their conquerors, again, "^^'^' 
were enslaved by their vices, and their empire passed 
away in the same gloom and despair. 

We see, however, in each successive conquest, the de- 
struction, not of civilization, but of men. Countries are 
overrun, thrones are subverted, the rich are made slaves, 
the proud utter cries of despair ; but the land survives, and 
arts and science take a new direction, and the new masters 
are more interested in great improvements than the old ty- 
rants. The condition of Babylonia was probably better for 
the Persian conquest, while the whole oriental world gained 
by the wars of Alexander. Grecian culture succeeded Per- 
sian misrule. The Romans came and took away from Gre- 
cian dynasties, in Asia and Egypt, when they became en- 
feebled by prosperity and self-indulgence, the powers they 
liad usurped, without destroying Grecian civilization. That 
remained, and will remain, in some form, forever, as an 
beirloom of priceless value to all future nations. The 
Greeks, when they conquered the Persians, had also spared 
the most precious monuments of their former industry and 
genius. The Romans, also, when they conquered Greece 
itself, guarded and prized her peculiar contributions to 
mankind. And they gave to all these conquered terri- 
tories, something of their own. They gave laws, and a 
good government. The Grecian and Asiatic cities were 
liumiliated by what they regarded as barbaric inroads ; for 
the culture of Athens, Corinth, Antioch, and Ephesus, Avas 
higher than that of Rome, at that time ; but who can 
doubt a beneficent change in the administration of public 
affairs? Society was doubtless improved everywhere by 
tiie Roman conquests. It is not probable that Athens, after 
she became tributary to Rome, was equal to the Athens of 
Pericles and Plato ; but it is probable that society in 
Athens was better than what it was for a century before 



440 The Fall of the Eminre. [Chap. xt. 

her fall. But what if particular cities suffered ? These 
did not constitute the whole country. Can it be doubted 
that Syria, as a province, enjoyed more rational liberty 
and more scope for energy, under tlie Roman rule, than 
under that of the degenerate scions of the old Grecian 
kings ? We see a retribution in the conquest, and also 
a blessino; in disguise. 

But still more forcibl}'- are these truths illustrated in the 
The Celtic couqucst of the Ccltic nations of Europe. They 
nations. were barbarians ; they had neither Science, nor 
literature, nor art ; they were given over to perpetual 
quarrels, and to rude pleasures. Ignorance, superstition, 
and unrestrained passions were the main features of so- 
ciety. Other rude warriors wandered from place to place, 
w^ith no other end than pillage. They had fine elements 
of character, but they needed civilization. They were 
conquered. The Romans taught them laws, and language, 
and literature, and arts. Cities arose among them, and 
these conquered barbarians became the friends of order 
and peace, and formed the most prosperous part of the 
whole empire. It was from these Celtic nations that the 
Roman armies were recruited. The great men of Rome, 
in the second and third centuries, came from these Celtic 
provinces. They infused a new blood into the decaying 
body. Who can doubt the benefit to mankind by the con- 
quests of Britain, of Gaul, and of Spain ? The Romans 
proved the greatest civilizers of the ancient world, with all 
their arrogance and w^ant of appreciation of those things 
which gave a glory to the Greeks. They introduced among 
the barbaric nations their own arts, language, literature, 
and laws ; and the civilization which thev tauorht never 
passed away. It was obscured, indeed, during the revolu- 
tions which succeeded the fall of the empire, but it was 
gradually revived, and beamed with added lustre when its 
merits w^ere at last perceived. 

Thus wars are not an unmixed calamity, since the evils 



Chap. XL] Barbarians sent as Avengers, 441 

are overruled in the ultimate good of nations. But they 
are a great calamity for the time, and they are sent when 
nations most need chastisement. 

The Romans triumphed, by their great and unexampled 
energy and patience and heroism, over all the conquest of 
world, and erected their universal empire upon ^^® ^^"^' 
the ruins of all the states of antiquity. They were suf- 
fered to increase and prosper, that great ends might be 
accomplished, either by the punishment of the old nations, 
or the creation of a new civilization. 

But they, in their turn, became corrupted by prosperity, 
and enervated by peace. They had been guilty of the 
most heartless and cruel atrocities for eight hundred years. 
Their empire was built upon the miseries of mankind. 
They also must needs suffer retribution. 

It was long delayed. It did not come till every con- 
servative influence had failed. The condition of society 
was becoming w^orse and worse, until it reached a deprav- 
ity and an apathy fatal to all genius, and more disgraceful 
than among those people whom they stigmatized as barba- 
rians. Then must come revolution, or races would run 
out and civilization be lost. 

God sent w^ar — universal, cruel, destructive war, at 
the hands of unknown warriors ; and they effected Barbaric 
a total eclipse of the glory of man. The empire conquests. 
was resolved into its original elements. Its lands w^ere 
overrun and pillaged ; its cities were burned and robbed ; 
and unmitigated violence overspread the earth, so that the 
cry of despair ascended to heaven, from the Pillars of Her- 
cules to the Caspian Sea. Indeed, the end of the world 
was so generally believed to be at hand, on this universal 
upturning of society, that some of the best men fled to 
caves and deserts ; and there were more monks that sought 
personal salvation by their austerities, than soldiers who 
braved their lives in battle. 

It is this great revolution which I seek to present, this 



442 The Fall of the Fmjnre, [Chap. xi. 

great catastrophe to wlilch the Romans were subjected, 
after having conquered one hundred and twenty milKons 
of people. It was probably the most mournful, in all its 
aspects, ever seen on the face of this earth since the uni- 
versal deluge. Never, surely, were such calamities pro- 
duced by the hand of man. The Greeks and Romans, 
when they had conquered a rebellious or enervated nation, 
introduced their civilization, and promoted peace and gen- 
eral security. They brought laws, science, literature, and 
arts, in the train of their armies ; they did not sweep away 
ancient institutions ; they left the people as they found 
them, only with greater facilities of getting rich ; they pre- 
served the pictures, the statues, and the temples ; they 
honored the literature and revered the sages who taught 
it ; they may have brought captives to their capitals as 
slaves, but they did not root out every trace of cultivation, 
or regarded it with haughty scorn. But, when their turn 
of punishment came, the whole world was filled with 
mourning and desolation, and all the relations of society 
were reversed. 

It was a sad hour in the old capital of the world, when 
Infatuation its blinded inhabitants were aroused from the 
Romans. stupcudous dclusiou that they were invincible ; 
when the crushing fact stared every one in the face, that 
the legions had been conquered, that province after prov- 
ince had been overrun, that proud and populous cities had 
fallen, that the barbarians were advancing, treading be- 
neath their feet all that had been deemed valuable, or rare, 
or sacred, that they were advancing to the very gates of 
Rome, — that her doom was sealed, that there was no 
shelter to which they could fly, that there was no way by 
which ruin could be averted, that they were doomed to 
hopeless poverty or servitude, that their wives and daugh- 
ters would be subject to indignities which were worse than 
djath, and that all the evils their ancestors had inflicted in 
their triumphant march, would be visited upon them with 



Chap. XI.] National Delusion, 443 

tenfold severity. The Romans, even then, when they cast 
their eyes upon external nature, saw rich corn-fields, smil- 
ing vineyards, luxurious gardens, yea, villas and temples 
and palaces without end ; and how could these be de- 
stroyed which had lasted for centuries ? How could the 
eternal city, which had not seen a foreign enemy near its 
gates since the invasion of the Gauls, which had escaped 
all dangers, so rich and gay, how could she now yield to 
naked barbarians from unknown forests ? They still be- 
held the splendid mechanism of government, the glitter 
and the pomp of armies, triumphal processions, new monu- 
ments of victory, the proud eagles, and all the emblems of 
unlimited dominion. What had they to fear? ^'JVihil est, 
Quirites, quod timer e possitis.^^ 

Nor to the eye of contemporaries was the great change, 
which had gradually taken place since the reign ratal 
of Trajan, apparent. Cowardice and weakness the Romans, 
were veiled from the view of men. In proportion to the 
imbecility of the troops, were the richness of their uniform, 
and the insolence of their manners. It was the day of boasts 
and pomps. All forms and emblems had their ancient 
force. All men partook of the vices and follies which 
were praised. In their levity and delusion, they did not 
see the real emptiness and hollowness of their institutions. 
A blinded generation never can see the signs of the times. 
Only a few contemplative men hid themselves in retired 
places, but were denounced as croakers or evil minded. 
Every body was interested in keeping up the delusion. 
Panics seldom last long. The world is too fond of its ease 
to believe the truths which break up repose and gains. All 
felt safe, because they had always been protected. Ruin 
might come ultimately, but not in their day. '''■Apres moi 
le deluge.'''' No one would make sacrifices, since no one 
feared immediate danger. Moreover, public spirit and pa- 
triotism had fled. If their cities were in dano-er, thev said, 
better perish here with our wives and children than die on 



444 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. XI. 

the frontiers after having suffered every privation and ex- 
posure. There must have been a universal indifference, or 
the barbarians could not have triumphed. The Romans 
had every inducement which any people ever had to a 
brave and desperate resistance. Not merely their own 
lives, but the security of their families w^as at stake. Their 
institutions, their interests, their rights, their homes, their 
altars, all were in jeopardy. And they were attacked by 
most merciless enemies, without pity or respect, and yet 
they would not fight, as nations should fight, and do some- 
times fight, when their country is invaded. Why did they 
6ffer no more stubborn resistance ? Why did the full-armed 
and well-trained legions yield to barbaric foes, without dis- 
cipline and without the most effective weapons ? Alas, dis- 
pirited and enervated people will never fight. They prefer 
slavery to death. Thus Persia succumbed before Alexan- 
der, and Asia Minor before the Saracen generals. Martial 
courage goes hand in hand with virtue. Without elevation 
of sentiment there will be no self-sacrifice. There is no 
hope when nations are abandoned to sensuality or egotism. 
We must believe in a most extraordinary degeneracy of 
Weakness of socicty, or Romo would not have fallen. With 
the empire. ^^^, comuioii dcgrcc of couragc, the empire should 
have resisted the Goths and Vandals. They were not 
more numerous than those hordes which Marius and Caesar 
annihilated even in their owm marshes and forests. It was 
not like the Macedonians, with their impenetrable phalanx, 
and their perfected armor, contending with semi-barbari- 
ans. It was not Hke the Spaniards, marching over Peru 
and Mexico. It was not like the English, with all the im- 
proved weapons of our modern times, firing upon a people 
armed with darts and arrows. But it was barbarians, 
without defensive armor, without discipline, without pres- 
tige, attacking legions which had been a thousand years 
learninor the art of war. Proh Pudor I The soldiers of 
the empire must have lost their ancient spirit. They 



Chap, xi.j The Conquero7's of Home, 445 

must have represented a most worthless people. We lose 
our pity in the strength of our indignation and disgust. A 
civilized nation that will yield to barbarians must deserve 
their fate. Noble as were the elements of character among 
the Germanic tribes, they were yet barbarians in arts, in 
manners, in knowledge, in mechanisms. They had noth- 
ing but brute force. Science should have conquered brute 
force ; but it did not. We cannot but infer a most start- 
ling degeneracy. It is to be regretted that we have no 
more satisfactory data as to the precise state of society. I 
am inclined to the opinion that society was much more 
degraded than it is generally supposed. When for two 
centuries the w^hole empire scarcely produced a poet, or a 
philosopher, or an historian ; when even the writings of 
famous men in the time of Augustus were lost or unread ; 
when, from Trajan to Honorius, a period of three hundred 
and fifty years, scarcely a work of original genius appeared, 
it must be that society was utterly demoralized, and all life 
and vi^or had fled. 

Then it was time for the empire to fall. And it is our 
work to sketch the ruin — and such a ruin. The conquerors 
bloody conquerors were Goths and Vandals, and °^ ^^™®" 
other Teutonic tribes — Franks, Sueves, Alans, Heruli, 
Burgundians, Lombards, Saxons. They came originally 
from Central Asia, in the region of the Caspian Sea, and 
were kindred to the Med^s and Persians. They drove be- 
fore them older inhabitants, probably Celtic nations, and 
ultimately settled in the vast region between the Baltic and 
the Danube, the Rhine and the Vistula, embracing those 
countries which are now called Norway, Sweden, Den- 
mark, and Germany. 

All these tribes were probably similar in manners, habits, 
tastes, and natural elements of character. Tacitus has 
ftirnished us with the most authentic record of their, cus- 
toms and peculiarities.^ Their eyes were stern and blue, 

1 Tacitus, De Moribus Germnnoi^m. 



448 Tlie Fall of the Empire, [Chap. X[. 

their hair red, their bodies large, their strength great. 
They were ruled by kings, but not with unlimited power. 
The priests had also an extraordinary influence, which they 
shared with the women, who were present in battles, and 
who were characterized for great purity and courage. Even 
the power to predict the future was ascribed to women. 
The German- ^he Germans were superstitious, and were given 
ic nations. ^^ diviuatious by omens and lots, by the flight of 
birds and the neighing of horses. They transacted no busi- 
ness, public or private, without being armed. They were 
warlike in all their habits and tastes, and the field of battle 
was the field of glory. Their chief deity was an heroic 
prince. Odin, the type-man of the nation, was a wild cap- 
tain, who taught that it was most honorable to die in battle. 
They hated repose and inactivity, and, when not engaged 
in war, they pursued with eagerness the pleasures of the 
chase ; yet, during the intervals of war and hunting, they 
divided their time between sleeping and feasting. They 
loved the forests, and dangerous sports, and adventurous 
enterprises. They abhorred cities, which they regarded as 
prisons of despotism. A rude passion for personal independ- 
ence was one of their chief characteristics, as powerful as 
veneration for the women and religious tendency of mind. 
They would brook no restraint on their wills or their pas- 
sions. Their wills were stern and their passions impetu- 
ous. They only yielded to the voice of entreaty or of 
love. They were ordinarily temperate, except on rare 
occasions, when they indulged in drunken festivities. 
Chastity was a virtue which was rigorously practiced. 
There were few cases of adultery among them, and the 
unfaithful wife was severely punished. Men and women, 
without seductive spectacles or convivial banquets, were 
fenced around with chastity, and bound together by family 
ties. Polygamy was unknown, and the marriage obliga- 
tion was sacred. The wife brought no dowry to her hus- 
band, but received one from him, not frivolous presents, 



\ \ 



Chap. XL] Manners and Traits of the Barbarians. 4i7 

but oxen, a caparisoned steed, a shield, spear, and sword, 
to indicate that she is to be a partner in toil and danger, to 
suffer and to dare in peace and war. Hospitality was an- 
other virtue, extended equally to strangers and acquaint- 
ances, but, at the festive board, quarrels often took place, 
and enmities once formed were rarely forgiven. Vindic- 
tive resentments were as marked as cordial and frank 
friendships. They drank beer or ale, instead of wine, at 
their feasts, although their ordinary drink was water. 
Their food was fruits, cheese, milk, and venison. They 
had an inordinate passion for gambling, and would even 
stake their very freedom on a throw. Slavery was com- 
mon, but not so severe and ruthless as among the Romans. 
They had but little commerce, and were unacquainted with 
the arts of usury. Their agriculture was rude, and corn 
was the only product they raised. They had the ordinary 
domestic animals, but their horses were neither beautiful 
nor swift. 

It is easy to see that, in their manners and traits, they 
had a great resemblance to the Celts, before they xhena- 
were subdued and civilized, but were not so pas- Slnts^of 
sionate, nor impulsive, nor thoughtless, 'nor reck- thrtarba-^^ 
less as they. Nor were they so much addicted ^^^^^' 
to gluttony and drunkenness. They were more persever- 
ing, more earnest, more truthful, and more chaste. Nor 
were they so much enslaved by the priesthood. The Dru- 
idical rule was confined to the Celts, yet, like the Celts, 
they worshiped God in the consecrated grove. Their 
religion was pantheistic : they saw God in the rocks, the 
rain, the thunder, the clouds, the rivers, the mountains, the 
stars. He was supposed to preside everywhere, and to be 
a supreme intelligence. Their view of God was quite 
similar to the early Ionic philosophers of Greece : " Regna- 
tor omnium deus^ ca'tera suhjecta atque parentia.^^ They 
were never idol- worshipers ; they worshiped nature, and 
called its wonders gods. But this worship of nature was 



448 The Fall of the Umpire, [Chap. xi. 

modified by the worship of a hero. In Odin they beheld 
strength, courage, magnanimity, the attributes they adored. 
To be brave was an elemental principle of religion, and 
they attributed to the Deity every thing which could inspire 
horror as the terrible, — the angry god who marked out 
those destined to be slain. Hence their groves, where he 
was supposed to preside, were dark and mysterious. We 
adore the gloom of woods, the silence which reigns around. 
" Lucos, atque in iis sileiitia^ ipsa adoremusy While the 
priests of this awful being were not so despotic as the 
Druids, they still exercised a great ascendency : they con- 
jured the storms of internal war ; they pronounced the 
terrible anathema ; they imparted to mihtary commanders 
a sacred authority ; and they carried at the head of their 
armies the consecrated banner of the Deity. In short, they 
wielded those spiritual weapons which afterward became 
thunderbolts in the hands of the clergy, and which pre- 
pared the way for the autocratic reign of the popes, in 
whom the Germanic nations ever recognized the vicegerent 
of their invisible Lord. They were most preeminently a 
religious people, governed by religious ideas — by which 
I mean they recognized a deity to whose will they were to 
be obedient, and whose favor could only be purchased by 
deeds of valor or virtue. Their morality sprung out of 
veneration for the Great Unseen, in whose hands were their 
destinies. 

This trait is the most remarkable and prominent among 
the Germans, next to their fierce passion for war, their 
veneration for woman, and their love of personal inde- 
pendence, to which last Guizot attaches great importance. 
The feeling one's self a man in the most unrestricted sense, 
was the highest pleasure of the German barbarian. There 
was a personality of feeling and interest hostile to social 
forms and municipal regulations. They cared for nothing 
beyond the gratification of their inclinations. To be unre- 
strained, to be free in the wildest sense, to do what they 



Chap. XI.] Character of the Germanic Nations. 449 

pleased under the impulse of the moment, this was their 
leading characteristic. Who cannot see that such a trait 
was hostile to civilization, and would prevent obedience to 
law — would make the uncultivated warrior unsocial and 
solitary, and lead him, in after-times, when he got posses- 
sion of the lands of the conquered Romans, to build his 
castle on inaccessible heio;hts and rugged rocks ? Hence 
isolated retreats, wild adventures, country life, the pleasures 
of the chase, characterized the new settlers. Thev avoided 
cities, and built castles. 

This passion for liberty, accompanied with the spirit of 
daring, adventure, and war, would have been j^Tationai 
fatal but for the rule of priests, and the great in- *^^^^' 
fluence of w^oman. In this latter element of character, tlie 
barbarians from Scandinavia stand out in interesting con- 
trast with the civilized nations whom they subverted. 
They evidently had a greater respect for woman than any 
of the nations of antiquity, not excepting the Jews. In 
her they beheld something sacred and divine. In her 
voice was inspiration, and in her presence there was safety. 
There was no true enthusiasm for woman in Greece even 
when Socrates bowed before the charms of Aspasia. There 
was none at Rome when Yolumnia screened the city from 
the vengeance of her angry son. But the Germans wor- 
shiped the fair, and beheld in her the incarnation character of 
of all virtue and loveliness. And thus, among ic nations. 
such a race, arose the glorious old institution of chivalry, 
which could not have existed among the Romans or the 
Greeks, even after Christianity had softened the character 
and enlarged the heart. In the baronial mansion of the 
Middle Ages this natural veneration was ripened into de- 
votion and gallantry. Among the knights, zeal for God 
and the ladies was enjoined as a single duty ; and " he 
who was faithful to his mistress," says Hallam, '' was sure 
of salvation, in the theology of castles, if not of cloisters." 
This devotion was expressed in the rude poetry of barba- 

29 



450 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xi. 

rous ages, in the sports of the tournament and tilt, in the 
feasts of the castle, in the masculine pleasures of the chase, 
in the control of the household, in the education of chil- 
dren, in the laws which recognized equality, in the free 
companionship with man, in the trust reposed in female 
honor and virtue, in the delicacy of love, and in the refine- 
ments of friendship. This trait alone shows the superior 
nature of the Germanic races, especially when taught by 
Christianity, and makes us rejoice that the magnificent 
conquests of the Romans were given to them for their 
proud inheritance. 

Such were the men who became the heirs of the Ro- 
mans, — races never subdued by arms or vices, among 
whom Christianity took a peculiar hold, and gradually 
developed among them principles of progress such as were 
never seen amono; the older nations. Can we wonder 
that such men should prevail? — men who loved w^ar as 
the Romans did under the republic ; men who gloried in 
their very losses, and felt that death in the field would secure 
future salvation and everlasting honor ; men full of hope, 
energy, enthusiasm, and zeal ; men who had, what the old 
races had not, — a soul, life, uncorrupted forces. 

Yet, when they invaded the Roman world, it must not 
be forgotten that they were rude, ignorant, wild, fierce, 
and unscrupulous. They were held in absolute detestation, 
as the North American Indians, whom they resembled in 
many important respects, were held in this country two 
hundred years ago. Their object was pillage. They 
roamed in search of more fruitful lands and a more con- 
genial sky. They were bent on conquest, rapine, and vio- 
lence. They were called the Northern Hordes — barba- 
rians — and even their vices were exaggerated. They 
were, indeed, most formidable and terrific foes ; and when 
conquered in battle would rally their forces, and press for- 
ward with renewed numbers. 

The first of these Teutonic barbarians who made success- 



Chap. XL] The Goths. 451 

ful inroads were the Goths. I do not now allude to the 
Celtic nations who were completely subdued and 
incorporated with the empire betore the acces- 
sion of the emperors. Nor do I speak of the Teutons 
whom Marius defeated one hundred years before the 
Christian era, nor yet of the Germanic tribes who made 
unsuccessful inroads during: the reio-ns of the earlier em- 
perors. Augustus must have had melancholy premonitions 
of danger when his general, Varus, suffered a disgraceful 
defeat by the sword of Arminus in the dark recesses of the 
Teuto-burger Wald, even as Charlemagne covered his face 
with his iron hands when he saw the invasion of his terri- 
tories by the Norman pirates. For three centuries there 
was a constant struggle between the Roman armies and 
the barbarians beyond the Rhine. In the reign of Marcus 
Antoninus they formed a general union for the invasion of 
the Roman world, but they were signally defeated, and the 
great pillar of Marcus Aurelius describes his victories on 
the Danube, who died combating the Vandals, a. d. 180. 
In the year 241 a. d., the great Aurelian is seen fighting 
the Franks near Mayence, who, nevertheless, pressed for- 
ward until they made their way into Spain. 

The most formidable of the enemies of Rome were the 
Goths. When first spoken of in history they inhabited the 
shores of the Baltic. They were called by Tacitus, Gothones. 
In the time of Caracalla they had migrated to the coast of 
the Black Sea. Under the reign of Alexander Severus, 222- 
235, A. D., they threatened the peace of the province of 
Dacia. Under Philip, a. d. 244-249, they sue- invasion of 
ceeded in conquering that province, and pen- *^®^°*^8- 
etrated into Moesia. In the year 251, they encoun- 
tered a Roman army under Decius, which they anni- 
hilated, and the emperor himself was slain. Then they 
continued their ravages along the coasts of the Euxine 
until they made themselves masters of the Crimea. With 
a large fleet of flat-boats they sailed to all the north- 



452 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

ern parts of the Euxine, took Pitj^us and Trapezus, at- 
tacked the wealthy cities on the Thracian Bosphorus, con- 
quered Chalcedon, Nicomedia, and Nice, and retreated 
laden with spoil. The next year, with five hundred boats 
— they cannot be called ships, — they pursued their de- 
structive navigation, destroyed Cyzicus, crossed the ^gean 
Sea, and landed at Athens, which they plundered. Thebes, 
Argos, Corinth, and Sparta were unable to defend their 
dilapidated fortifications. They advanced to the coasts of 
Epirus and devastated the whole Illyrian peninsula. In 
this destructive expedition they destroyed the famous 
temple of Diana at Ephesus, with its one hundred and 
twenty-seven marble columns sixty feet in height, and its 
interior ornamented with the choicest sculptures of Praxit- 
eles. But they at length got wearied of danger and toil, 
and returned through Moesia to their own settlements. 
Though this incursion was a raid rather than a conquest, 
yet what are we to think of the military strength of the 
empire and the condition of society, when, in less than three 
hundred years after Augustus had shut the temple of Janus, 
fifteen thousand undisciplined barbarians, witliout even a 
leader of historic fame, were allowed to ravage the most 
populous and cultivated part of the empire, even the 
classic cities which had resisted the Persian hosts, and 
retire unmolested with their spoils ? The Emperor Gal- 
lienus, one of the most frivolous of all the Caesars, received 
the intelligence with epicurean indifference, and aban- 
doned himself to inglorious pleasures ; and as Nero is said 
to have fiddled while his capital was in ashes, so he, in this 
great emergency, consumed his time in gardening and the 
arts of cookery, and was commended by his idolatrous 
courtiers as a philosopher and a hero. 

In fact, this invasion of the Goths was not contemplated 
with that alarm which it ought to have excited, but rather 
as an accidental evil, like a pestilence or a plague. More- 
over, it was lost sight of in the general misery and misfortunes 



Chap. XL] CrotMc jSuccesses and Defeats, 453 

of the times. The Emperor Valerian had just been defeated 
and taken prisoner by Sapor. Pretenders had started up in 
nineteen different places for the imperial purple. Banditti 
had spread devastation in Sicily. Alexandria was disturbed 
by tumults. Famine and the plague raged for ten years in 
nearly all parts of the empire. Rome lost by the pestilence 
five thousand daily, while half the inhabitants of Alexandria 
were swept away. Soldiers, tyrants, barbarians, and the 
visitation of God threatened the ruin of the Roman world. 

But the ruin was staved off one hundred years by the la- 
bors and genius of a series of great princes, w'ho traced their 
origin to the martial province of Illyricum. And all that 
was in the power of the emperors to do was done to arrest 
destruction. No empire w^as ever ruled by a succession of 
better and greater men than the calamities of the times 
raised up on the death of Gallienus, a. d. 268. But what 
avail the energy and talents of rulers when a nation is 
doomed to destruction ? We have the profoundest admi- 
ration for the imperial heroes who bore the burdens of a 
throne in those days of tribulation. They succeeded in 
restoring the ancient glories — but glories followed by a 
deeper shame. They attempted impossibilities when their 
subjects were sunk in sloth and degradation. 

Claudius, one of the generals of Gallienus, was invested 
with the purple at the age of fifty-four. He re- success and 

. J '1'. T • 1' '11 1 defeat of the 

stored military disciphne, revived law, repressed Goths. 
turbulence, and bent his thoughts to head off the barbaric 
invasions. The various nations of Germany and Sarmatia, 
united under the Gothic standard, and in six thousand ves- 
sels, prepared once more to ravage the world. Sailing 
from the banks of the Dniester, they crossed the Euxine, 
passed through the Bosphorus, anchored at the foot of 
Mount Athos, and assaulted Thessalonica, the wealthy cap- 
ital of the Macedonian provinces. Claudius advanced to 
meet these three hundred and twenty thousand barbarians. 
At Naissus, in Dalmatia, was fought one of the most 



454 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xi. 

memorable and bloody battles of ancient times, but not 
one of the most decisive. Fifty thousand Goths were slain 
in that dreadful fight. Three Gothic women fell to the 
share of every imperial soldier. The discomfited warriors 
fled in consternation, but their retreat was cut off by the 
destruction of their fleet ; and on the return of spring the 
mighty host had dwindled to a desperate band in the inac- 
cessible parts of Mount Hemus. 

Claudius survived his victory but two years, and was 
Victories of succccded, A. D. 270, by a still greater man — his 
Claudius. general Aurelian, whose father had been a 
peasant of Sirmium. Every day of his short reign was 
filled with wonders. He put an end to the Gothic war ; 
he chastised the Germans who invaded Italy ; he recov- 
ered Gaul, Spain, and Britain, from the hands of an 
usurper ; he destroyed the proud monarchy which Zenobia 
had built up in the deserts of the East ; he defeated the 
Alemanni who, with eighty thousand foot and forty thou- 
sand horse, had devastated the country from the Danube 
to the Po ; and, not least, he took Zenobia herself a pris- 
oner — one of the most celebrated women of antiquity, 
equaling Cleopatra in beauty, Elizabeth in learning, and 
Artemisia in valor — a woman who blended the popular 
manners of the Roman princes with the stately pomp of 
oriental kings. 

Zenobia, queen of Palmyra, the widow of Odenatus, 
ruled a large portion of Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt, 
and with a numerous army she advanced to meet the im- 
perial legions. Conquered in two disastrous battles, she 
retired to the beautiful city which Solomon had built, 
shaded with palms, ornamented with palaces, and rich in 
oriental treasure. Then again, attacked by her perse- 
vering enemy, she mounted the fleetest of her dromedaries, 
but was overtaken on the banks of the Euphrates, and 
brought a captive to the tent of the martial emperor, while 
Palmyra, her capital, with all its riches, fell into the hands 
of the conqueror. 



Chap. XL] Success of Tacitus, 455 

Aurelian, with the haughty queen who had presumed to 
rise up in arms against the empire, returned to successes of 
Rome, and then was celebrated the most mag- ^"'^^^^^^ 
nificent triumph which the world had seen since the days 
of Pompey and of CiBsar. And since the foundation of 
the city, no conqueror more richly deserved a triumph 
than this virtuous and rucro-ed soldier of fortune. And as 
the august procession, w^ith all the pomp and circumstance 
of war, moved along the Via Sacra, up the Capitoline Hill, 
and halted at the Temple of Jupiter, to receive the ben- 
ediction of the priests, and to deposit w^ithin its sacred 
walls the treasures of the East, it would seem that Rome 
was destined to surmount the ordinary fate of nations, and 
reign as mistress of the w^orld per secula seculorum. 

But this grand pageant was only one of the last glories 
of the setting sun of Roman greatness. Aurelian had no 
peace or repose. " The gods decree," said the impatient 
emperor, " that my life should be a perpetual warfare." 
He was obliged to take the field a few months after his 
triumph, and was slain, not in battle, but by the hands of 
assassins — the common fate of his predecessors and succes- 
sors — "the regular portal" through which the Caesars 
passed to their account with the eternal Judge. He had 
boasted that public danger had passed — " ^go efficiam ne 
sit aliqua solicitudo Romana. JSfos puhlicce necessitates 
teneant ; vos occupent volii0ates.^' But scarcely had this 
warlike prince sung his requiem to the agitations of Rome 
before new dangers arose, and his sceptre descended to a 
man seventy-five years of age. 

Tacitus, the new^ emperor, w^as however worthy of his 
throne. He was selected as the most fittino; man that 
could be found. Scarcely was he inaugurated, before he 
was obliged to march against the Alans, svho had spread 
their destructive ravages over Pontus, Cappadocia, Cilicia, 
and Galatia. He lost his life, though successful in battle, 
amid the hardships of a winter campaign, and Probus, one 



456 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. XL 

of his generals, who had once been an Illyrian peasant, 
was clothed with the imperial purple, a. d. 278. 

This vigorous monarch was then forty-five years of age, 
The sue- in the prime of his strength, popular with the 

C6SSGS of 

Piobus. army, and patriotic and enlarged in his views. 
He reigned six years, and won a fame equal to that of the 
ancient heroes. He restored peace and order in every 
province of the empire ; he broke the power of the Sar- 
matian tribes ; he secured the alliance of the Gothic na- 
tion ; he drove the Isaurians to their strongholds among 
the mountains ; he chastised the rebellious cities of Egypt ; 
he delivered Gaul from the Germanic barbarians, who 
again inundated the empire on the death of Aurelian; he 
drove back the Franks into their morasses at the mouth 
of the Rhine ; he vanquished the Burgundians, who had 
wandered in quest of booty from the banks of the Oder ; 
he defeated the Lygii, a fierce tribe from the frontiers of 
Silesia, and took their chieftain Semno alive ; he passed the 
Rhine and pursued his victories to the Elbe, exacting a trib- 
ute of corn, cattle, and horses, from the defeated Germans ; 
he even erected a bulwark against their future encroach- 
ments — a stone wall of two hundred miles in length, across 
vallevs and hills and rivers, from the Danube to the Rhine 
— a feeble defense indeed, but such as to excite the won- 
der of his age ; he, moreover, dispersed the captive barba- 
rians throughout the provinces, who were afterward armed 
in defense of the empire, and whose brethren were per- 
suaded to make settlements with them, so that, at length, 
" there was not left in all the provinces," says Gibbon, " a 
hostile barbarian, a tyrant, or even a robber." 

After having destroyed four hundred thousand barba- 
rians, the victor returned to Rome, and, like Aurelian, cel- 
ebrated his successes in one of those gorgeous triumphs to 
which modern nations have no parallel. Then he again, 
like the conqueror of Zenobia, mounted the Pisgah of 
hope, and descried the Saturnian ages which, in his vision 



Chap. XI.] The Reign of Diocletian, 457 

of Peace, he fancied were to follow his victories. '^Mespuh- 
lica Of his terrarum^ uhique secura, non arma fahricahit. 
Boves Tiabehuntur aratro ; equus nasciter ad pacem. Nulla 
erunt Bella; nulla captivitas. u3^ternos thesauros haheret 
Romana respuhlica.''' But scarcely had the pseans escaped 
him, before, in his turn, be was assassinated in a mutiny of 
his own troops — a man of virtue and abilities, although 
his austere temper insensibly, under military power, sub- 
sided into tyranny and cruelty. 

Without the approbation of the Senate, the soldiers 
elected a new emperor, and he too was a hero. Carus had 
scarcely assumed the purple, a. d. 282, before he marched 
against the Persians, through Thrace and Asia Minor, in 
the midst of winter, and the ambassadors of the Per- 
sian king found the new emperor of the world seated on 
the grass, at a frugal dinner of bacon and pease, in that 
severe simplicity which afterward marked the earty suc- 
cessors of Mohammed. But before he could carry his 
victorious arms across the Tigris, he suddenly died in his 
tent, struck, as some think, by Hghtning. His son Carinus 
was unworthy of the throne to which he succeeded, and 
his reign is chiefly memorable for the mao;nificence of 
his games and festivals. His reign, and that of his brother 
Numerian, was however short, and a still greater man than 
any who had mounted the throne of the Caesars since 
Augustus, took the helm at the most critical period of Ro- 
man history, a. d. 285. 

This man was Diocletian, rendered infamous in ecclesi- 
astical history, as the most bitter persecutor the 

^, . . , , (, , 1 • 1 Diocletian. 

Christians ever had ; a man ot obscure birth, 
yet of most distinguished abilities, and virtually the founder 
of a new empire. He found it impossible to sustain the 
public burdens in an age so disordered and disorganized, 
when every province w^as menaced by the barbarians, and 
he associated with himself three colleagues who had won 
fame in the wars of Aurelian and Carus, and all of whom 



458 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

had rendered substantial services — Galerius, Maximian, 
and Constantius. These four Caesars, ahve to the danger 
which menaced the empire, took up their residence in 
the distant provinces. They were all great generals ; 
and they won great victories on the banks of the Rhine 
and the Danube, in Africa and Egypt, in Persia and Ar- 
menia. Their lives were spent in the camp ; but care, 
vexation, and discontent pursued them. The barbarians 
were continually beaten, but they continually advanced. 
Their progress reminds one of the rising tide on a stormy 
and surging beach. W^ave after wave breaks upon the 
shore, recedes, returns, and nothing can stop the gradual 
advance of the waters. So in the hundred years after 
GalHenus, wave after wave of barbaric invasion constantly 
appeared, receded, returned, with added strength. The 
heroic emperors were uniformly victors ; but their victories 
were in vain. They were perpetually reconquering rebel- 
lious provinces, or putting down usurpers, or punishing the 
barbarians, who acquired strength after every defeat, and 
w^ere more and more insatiable in their demands, and un- 
relenting in their wills. They w^ere determined to con- 
quer, and the greatest generals of the Roman empire dur- 
ing four hundred years could not subdue them, although 
they could beat them. 

The empire is again united under Constantine, after 
bloody civil wars, a. d. 324, thirty-four years 
after Diocletian had divided his power and prov- 
inces with his associates. He renews the war against the 
Goths and Sarmatians, severely chastises them as well as 
other enemies of Rome, and dies leaving the empire to his 
son, unequal to the task imposed upon him. The in- 
glorious reigns of Constantius and Gallus only enabled the 
barbarians to renew their strength. They are signally 
defeated by the Emperor Julian, a. d. 360, who alone sur- 
vives of all the heirs of Constantius Chlorus. The studious 
Julian, who was supposed to be a mere philosopher, proves 



Chap. XL] Valentinian and Valens, 459 

himself to be one of the most warlike of all the emperors. 
He repulses the Alemamii, defeats the Franks, delivers 
Gaul, and carries the Roman eagles triumphantly beyond 
the Rhine. His victories delay the ruin of the empire ; 
they do not result In the conquest of Germany, and he 
dies, mortally wounded, not by a German spear, but by 
the javelin of a Persian horseman, beyond the Tigris, in 
an unsuccessful enterprise against Sajoor, a. d. 363. 

After his death the ravages of the barbarians became 
still more fearful. The Alemanni invade Gaul, Newmva- 

o/^r ii -r» • A • 1 sionsofbar- 

A. D. oDO, the Jrersians recover Armenia, the barians. 
Burgundians appear upon the Rhine, the Saxons attack 
Britain, and spread themselves from the Wall of Antoninus 
to the shores of Kent, the Goths prepare for another inva- 
sion ; in Africa there is a great revolt under FIrmus. The 
empire is shaken to its centre. 

Valentinian, a soldier of fortune, and an able general, 
now wears the imperial purple. Like Diocletian, he finds 
himself unable to bear the burdens of his throne. He 
elects an associate, divides the empire, and gives to Yalens 
the eastern provinces. All idea of reigning in peace, and 
giving the reins to pleasure, has vanished from the imperial 
mind. The office of emperor demands the severest virtues 
and the sternest qualities and the most incessant labors. 
'' Uneasy sits the head that wears a crown," can now 
be said of all the later emperors. The day is past for 
enjoyment or for pomp. The emperor's presence is re- 
quired here and there. Valentinian rules with vigor, and 
gains successes over the barbarians. He is one of the 
great men of the day. He reserves to himself the western 
provinces, and fixes his seat at Milan, but cannot preserve 
tranquillity, and dies in a storm of wrath, by the bursting 
of a blood-vessel, while reviling the ambassadors of the 
QuadI, A. D. 375, at the age of fifty-four. 

His brother, Valens, Emperor of the East, had neither 
his talents nor energy ; and it was his fate to see the first 



460 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. XI. 

great successful inroads of the Goths. For thirty years the 
Disasters of Romaus had secured their frontiers, and the Goths 
Vaiens |^^^j extended their dominions. Hermanric, the 

firsfe historic name of note among them, ruled over the 
entire nation, and had won a series of brilliant victories 
over other tribes of barbarians after he was eighty years 
of ao;e. His dominions extended from the Danube to the 
Baltic, including the greater part of Germany and Scythia. 
Ill the year 366 his subjects, tempted by the civil discords 
which Procopius occasioned, invaded Thrace, but were re- 
sisted by the generals of Vaiens. The aged Hermanric 
was exasperated by the misfortune, and made preparations 
for a general war, while the emperor himself invaded the 
Gothic territories. For three years the war continued, 
with various success, on the banks of the Danube. Her- 
manric intrusted the defense of his country to Athanaric, 
who was defeated in a bloody battle, and a hollow peace 
was made with Victor and Arintheus, the generals of 
Vaiens. The Goths remained in tranquillity for six years, 
until, driven by the Scythians, who emerged in vast num- 
bers from the frozen regions of the north, the}'- once more 
advanced to the Danube and implored the aid of Vaiens.^ 
The prayers of the Goths were answered, and they were 
transported across the Danube — a suicidal act of the em- 
peror, which imported two hundred thousand warriors, with 
their wives and children, into the Roman territories. The 
Goths retained their arms and their greed, and pretended 
to settle peaceably in the province of Moesia. But they 
were restless and undisciplined barbarians, and it required 
the greatest adroitness to manage them in their new abodes. 
They were insolent and unreasonable in their demands and 
expectations, while the ministers of the emperor were op- 
pressive and venal. Difficulties soon arose, and, too late, 
it was seen by the emperor that he had introduced most 
dangerous enemies into the heart of the empire. 

1 See Ammianus Marcelliaus, b. xxi., from which Gibbon has chiefly drawn 
his narratives. 



Chap. XI.] Death of Valens. 461 

The great leader of these Goths was Fritigern, who 
soon kindled the flames of war. He united under rritigem, 

n 1 ' ' leader of the 

his standard all the various tribes of his nation, Goths. 
increased their animosities, and led them to the mouth of 
the Danube. There they were attacked by the lieutenants 
of Valens, and a battle was fought without other result 
than that of checking for a time the Gothic progress. But 
only for a time. The various tribes of barbarians, under 
the able generalship of Fritigern, whose cunning was 
equal to his bravery, advanced to the suburbs of Hadrian- 
ople. Under the walls of that city was fought the most 
disastrous battle, a. d. 378, to the imperial cause which is 
recorded in the annals' of Roman history. The emperor 
himself was slain with, two thirds of his whole Death of the 

1-11 • 1 n 1 • • Emperor 

army, while the remainder ilea in consternation, vaiens. 
Sixty thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry were 
stretched in death upon the bloody field — one third more 
than at the fatal battle of Cannae. The most celebrated 
orator of the day, though a Pagan,^ pronounced a funeral 
oration on the vanquished army, and attributed the catas- 
trophe, not to the cowardice of the legions, but the anger 
of the gods. " The fury of the Goths," says St. Jerome, 
" extended to all creatures possessed of life : the beasts of 
the field, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea." 
The victors, intoxicated with their first great success, in- 
vested Hadrianople, where were deposited enormous riches. 
But they were unequal to the task of taking so strong a 
city ; and when the inhabitants aroused themselves in a 
paroxysm of despair, they raised the siege and departed to 
ravage the more unprotected West. Laden with spoils, 
they retired to the western boundaries of Thrace, and 
thence scattered their forces to the confines of Italy. From 
the shores of the Bosphorus to the Julian Alps nothing 
was to be seen but conflagration and murders and devasta- 
tions. Churches were turned into stables, palaces were 

1 Libanius of Antioch. 



462 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xi. 

burned, works of priceless value were destroyed, the relics 
of martyrs were desecrated, the most fruitful provinces were 
overrun, the population was decimated, the land was over- 
grown with forests, cultivation was suspended, and despair 
and fear seized the minds of all classes. So great was the 
misfortune of the Illyrian provinces that they never after- 
ward recovered, and for ten centuries only supplied mate- 
rials for roving robbers. The empire never had seen such 
a day of calamity. 

This melancholy state of affairs, so desperate and so 
Desperate general, demanded a deliverer and a hero ; but 

condition of i p i o -nt i • 

the Romans, whcrc was a hcro to be found? Nothmo- but 
transcendent ability could now arrest the overthrow. Who 
should succeed to the vacant throne of Valens ? 

The Emperor Gratian, who wielded the sceptre of Val- 
entinian in the West, in this alarming crisis, cast 

Theodosius. m t p i i i • i 

his eyes upon an exile, whose rather had unjustly 
suffered death under his own sanction three years before. 
This man was Theodosius, then living in modest retire- 
ment on his farm in Spain, near Valladolid, as unambitious 
as David among his sheep, as contented as Cincinnatus at 
the plough. Great deliverers are frequently selected from 
the most humble positions ; but no world hero, in ancient 
or modern times, is more illustrious than Theodosius for 
modesty and magnanimity united with great abilities. No 
mscharac- man is dearer to the Church than he, both for his 

terandiUus- . i i • • mi i • t-ii / i • 

trious deeds, sciwiccs aiid his virtucs. 1 lic cloqucut Jblechier 
has emblazoned his fame, as Bossuet has painted the Prince 
of Condd. Even Gibbon lays aside his sneers to praise 
this great Christian Emperor, although his character was 
not free from stains. He modestly but readily accepted 
the vacant sceptre and the conduct of the Gothic war. He 
was thirty-three years of age, in the pride of his strength, 
and well instructed in liberal pursuits. No better choice 
could have been made by Gratian. He was as prudent as 
Fabius, as magnanimous as Richard, as persevering as 



Chap. XL] Glory of Theodosius. 463 

Alfred, as comprehensive as Charlemagne, as beneficent as 
Henry IV., as full of resources as Frederic II. One of 
the greatest of all the emperors, and the last great man 
who swayed the sceptre of Trajan his ancestor, his reign 
cannot but be too hi^hlv commended, livino; in such an 
age, exposed to so many dangers, invested with so many 
difficulties. He was the last flickering light of the expiring 
monarchy, beloved and revered by all classes of his sub- 
jects. " The vulgar gazed with admiration on the manly 
beauty of his face and the graceful majesty of his person, 
which they were pleased to compare with the pictures and 
medals of the Emperor Trajan ; while intelligent observers 
discovered, in the qualities of the heart and understanding, 
a more important resemblance to the best and greatest of 
the Roman emperors." ^ 

Mr. Long, of Oxford, in a fine notice of Theodosius, 
thinks that the praises of Gibbon are extravagant, and that 
the emperor was probably a voluptuary and a persecutor. 
But Gibbon is not apt to praise the favorites of the Church. 
Tillemont presents him in the same light a> Gibbon.^ A 
man who could have submitted to such a penance as Am- 
brose imposed for the slaughter of Thessalonica, could not 
have been cast in a different mould from old David him- 
self. For my part I admire his character and his deeds. 

Soon as he was invested with the purple, he gave his 
undivided enermes to the o-reat task intrusted to 
him ; but he never succeeded in fully revenging 
the battle of Hadrianople, which was one of the decisive 
battles of the world in its ultimate effects. He had the 
talents and the energy and the prudence, but he was beset 
with impossibilities. Still, he staved off ruin for a time. 
The death of Fritigern unchained the passions of the bar- 
barians, and they would have been led to fresh revolts had 
they not submitted to the authority of Athanaric, whom 
the emperor invited to his capital and feasted at his table, 

1 Gibbon, chap. xxvi. 2 Tillemont, Hist, des Emp., vol. v. 



Defeat of the 
Goths. 



464 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

and astonished by his riches and glory. The Visigoths, 
won by the policy or courtesy of Theodosius, became sub- 
jects of the empire. The Ostrogoths, who had retired 
from the provinces of the Danube four years before, re- 
turned recruited witli a body of Huns, and crossed the 
Danube to assail the Roman army, but were defeated by 
Theodosius ; and a treaty was made with them, by which 
they were settled in Phrygia and Lydia. Forty thousand 
of them were kept in the service of the emperor ; but they 
were doubtful allies, as subsequent events proved, even in 
the lifetime of the magnanimous emperor.^ 

Theodosius died at Milan in the arms of Ambrose, a. d. 
Honorius 395, and with his death the real drama of the 

find A. re 3," 

dius. fall of Rome begins. His empire was divided be- 

tween his two sons, Honorius and Arcadius, who were un- 
worthy or unequal to maintain their great inheritance. 
The barbarians, released from the restraint which the fear 
of Theodosius imposed, recommenced their combinations 
and their ravages, while *the soldiers of tlie empire were 
dispirited and enervated. About this time they threw 
away their defensive armor, not able to bear the weight 
of the cuirass and the helmet ; and even the heavy weapons 
of their ancestors, the short sword and the pilum, were 
supplanted by the bow, — a most remarkable retrograde 
in military art. Without defensive armor, not even the 
shield, they were exposed to the deadly missiles of their 
foes, and fled at the first serious attacks, especially of 
cavalry, in which the Goths and Huns excelled. 

History has taken but little notice of the leaders of th^ 
Aiaric, king vaHous tribes of barbarians until Alaric appeared, 
goths. the leader of the Visigoths, the able successor of 

Fritigern. He belonged to the second noblest family of his 
nation, and first appears in history as a general of the 
Gothic auxiliaries in the war of Theodosius against Euge- 
nius, A. D. 394. In 396, stimulated by anger or ambition, 

1 Zosimus, 1. 4. 



Chap XL] Successes of Alaric, 465 

or the instigation of Rufinus,^ he invaded Greece at the 
head of a powerful body, and devastated the country. He 
descended from the plains of Macedonia and Thessaly, and 
entered the classic land, which for a long time had escaped 
the ravages of war, through the pass of Thermopylse. 
Degenerate soldiers, half armed, now defended the narrow 
passage where three hundred heroes had once arrested the 
march of the Persian hosts. But Greece was no longer 
Greece. The soldiers fled as Alaric advanced, and the 
fertile fields of Phocis and Boeotia were at once covered 
with hostile and cruel barbarians, who massacred the men 
and ravished the women in all the villages through which 
they passed. Athens purchased her preservation by an 
enormous ransom. Corinth, Argos, Sparta, yielded with- 
out a blow, but did not escape the fate of vanquished 
cities. Their palaces were burned, their works of art de- 
stroyed, their women subjected to indignities which were 
worse than death, and their families were enslaved.^ 

Only one hope remained to the feeble and intimidated 
Arcadlus, and that was the skill and courage of successes of 
Stilicho, by birth a Vandal, but who had risen in *^® ^^*^®* 
the imperial service until he was virtually intrusted by The- 
odosius with the guardianship of his sons and of the empire. 
He was the lieutenant of Honorius, who had espoused his 
daughter, but summoned by the dangers of Arcadius, he ad- 
vanced to repulse the invaders of Greece, who had not met 
with any resistance from Thermopylae to Corinth. A des- 
perate campaign followed in the woody country where Pan 
and the Dryads were fabled to reside in the olden times. 
The Romans prevailed, and Alaric was in imminent peril of 
annihilation, but was saved by the too confident spirit of 
Stilicho, and his indulgence in the pleasures of the degen- 
erate Greeks. He effected his release by piercing the lines 
of his besiegers and performing a rapid march to the Gulf 
of Corinth, where he embarked his soldiers, his captives, 

1 Socrates, EccUs. Hist., vii. 10. 2 Gibbon, chap. xxx. 

30 



466 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xi. 

and his spoil, and reached Epirus in safety, from which he 
effected a treaty with the ministers of Arcadius, which he 
never intended to keep, and was even made master-general 
of Eastern Illyricum. Successful war brings irresistible 
eclat^ equally among barbarians and civilized nations. 
There is no fame like the glory of a warrior. Poets and 
philosophers drop their heads in the presence of great 
military chieftains ; and those people who rest their claims 
to the gratitude or the admiration of the world on their intel - 
lectual and moral superiority, are among the first to yield 
precedence to conquering generals, whether they are ig- 
norant, or unscrupulous, or haughty, or ambitious. The 
names of warriors descend from generation to generation, 
"while the benefactors of mind are forgotten or depreciated. 
Who can wonder at military ambition when success in war 
has been uniformly attended with such magnificent re- 
wards, from the times of Pompey and Caesar to those of 
Marlborough and Napoleon ? 

The Gothic robber and murderer was rewarded by his 
nation with all the power and glory it could bestow. He 
was made a king, and was assured of unlimited support 
in all his future enterprises. 

He cast his eyes on Italy, for many generations undefiled 
Danger of ^7 ^^® prcseuce of a foreign enemy, and enriched 
Italy. with the spoils of three hundred triumphs. He 

marched from Thessalonica, through Pannonia to the Ju- 
lian Alps ; passed through the defiles of those guarded 
mountains, and appeared before the walls of Aquileia, one 
of the most important cities of Northern Italy, enriched by 
the gold mines of the neighboring Alps, and a prosperous 
trade with the Illyrians and Pannonians. Here the great 
Julius had made his head-quarters when he made war upon 
Illyria, and here the younger Constantine was slain. It 
was the capital of Venetia, and had the privilege of a mint. 
It was the ninth- city of the whole empire, inferior in Italy 
to Rome, Milan, and Capua alone. It was situated on a 



Chap. XL] The Roman General Stilicho, 467 

plain, and was strongly fortified with walls and towers. 
And it seems to have resisted the attacks of Alaric, who 
retired to the Danube for reinforcements for a new cam- 
paign. 

The Emperor Honorius, weak, timid, and defenseless at 
Milan, was overwhelmed with fear, and implored stmchocom- 

-, . -,. . PI* 1 Til mands the 

the immediate assistance of his only reliable gen- Romans. 
eral. Stilicho responded to the appeal, and appreciated the 
danger. He summoned from every quarter the subjects or 
the allies of the emperor. The fortresses of the Rhine were 
abandoned ; the legions were withdrawn from Britain ; the 
Alani were enlisted as auxiliaries, and Stilicho advanced to 
the relief of his fugitive sovereign, w^ho had fled from Milan 
to a town in Piedmont, just in time to rescue him from 
the grasp of Alaric, who, in his turn, became besieged by 
the troops which issued from all the passes of the Alps. 
The Goths were attacked in their intrenchments at Pol- 
lentia, and were obliged to retreat, leaving the spoils of 
Corinth and Argos, and even the wife of Alaric. The 
poet Claudian celebrated the victory as greater than even 
that achieved by Marius over the Cimbri and Teutones. 
The defeated Goth, however, rose superior to misfortune 
and danger. He escaped with the main body of his 
cavalry, broke through the passes of the Apennines, and 
spread devastation on the fruitful fields of Tuscany, and 
was resolved to risk another battle for the great prize 
which he coveted — the possession of Rome itself. He 
was, however, foiled by Stilicho, who purchased the retreat 
of the enemy for forty thousand pounds of gold. But the 
Goths respected no treaties. Scarcely had they crossed 
the Po, before their leader resolved to seize Verona, which 
commanded the passes of the Rhastian Alps. Here he was 
again attacked by Stilicho, and suffered losses equal to 
those incurred at Pollentia, and was obliged to retreat from 
Italy, A. D. 404. 

The conqueror was hailed with joy and gratitude ; too 



468 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xi. 

soon succeeded by envy and calumny, as Is usual with ben- 
infatuation efactors in corrupt times. The retreat of Alaric 
Romans. was regarded as a complete deliverance ; and the 
Roman people abandoned themselves to absurd rejoicings, 
gladiatorial shows, and triumphant processions. In the 
royal chariots, side by side with the emperor, Stilicho was 
seated, and the procession passed under a triumphal arch 
which commemorated the complete destruction of the 
Goths. For the last time, the amphitheatre of Rome was 
polluted with the blood of gladiators, for Honorius, ex- 
horted by the poet Claudian, abolished forever the inhu- 
man sacrifices. 

Yet scarcely was Italy delivered from the Goths, before 
New hordes an Irruptiou of Vandals, Suevi, and Burgun- 
rians. diaus, uudcr Rodogast or Rhadagast, two hun- 

dred thousand in number of fighting men, beside an equal 
number of women and children, issued from the coast of 
the Baltic. One third of these crossed the Alps, the Po, 
and the Apennines, ravaged the cities of Northern Italy, 
and laid siege to Florence, which was reduced to its last 
necessity, when the victor of Pollentia appeared beneath 
its w'alls, with the last army which the empire could fur- 
nish, and introduced supplies. Moreover, he surrounded 
the enemy in turn with strong intrenchments, and the bar- 
baric host was obliged to yield. The leader Rodogast was 
beheaded, and the captives were sold as slaves. Stilicho, a 
second time, had delivered Italy ; but one hundred thou- 
sand barbarians still remained in arms between the Alps 
and the Apennines. Shut out of Italy, they invaded Gaul, 
and never afterward retreated beyond the Alps. Gaul 
was then one of the most cultivated of the Roman prov- 
inces ; the banks of the Rhine were covered with farms 
and villas, and peace and plenty had long accustomed, the 
people to luxury and ease. But all was suddenly changed, 
Devastation ^^^ chaugcd for generations. The rich corn- 
of Gaul. fields and fruitful vineyards became a desert. 



Chap. XI.] The Devastation of Italy. 469 

Mentz was destroyed and burned. Worms fell after an 
obstinate siege, and experienced the same fate. Strasburg, 
Spires, Rheims, Tournay, Arras, Amiens, passed under the 
German yoke, and the flames of war spread over the sev- 
enteen provinces of Gaul. The country w^as completely 
devastated, and all classes experienced a remorseless rigor. 
Bishops, senators, and virgins were alike enslaved. No 
retreat was respected, and no sex or condition was spared. 
Gaul ceased to exist as a Roman province. 

Italy, however, had been for a time delivered, and by 
the only man of ability who remained in the ser- Assassma- 

1^ ^ TT • 1 -111 *^^*^ °^ 

Vice or the emperor. He might possibly have stmcho. 
checked the further progress of the Goths, had the weak 
emperor intrusted himself to his guidance. But imperial 
jealousy, and the voice of faction, removed forever this 
last hope of Rome. The frivolous Senate which he had 
saved, and the timid emperor whom he had guarded, were 
alike demented. The savior of Italy was an object of fear 
and hatred, and the assassin's dagger, which cut short his 
days, inflicted a fatal and suicidal blow upon Rome herself. 
The Gothic king, in his distant camp on the confines of 
Italy, beheld with undissembled joy, the intrigues Aiaric 
and factions which deprived the emperor of his itaiy. 
best defender, and which placed over his last army incom- 
petent generals. So, hastening his preparations, he again 
descends like an avalanche upon the plains of Italy. 
Aquileia, Altinum, Concordia, and Cremona, yielded to 
his arms, and increased his forces. He then ravaged the 
coasts of the Adriatic ; and, following the Flaminian way, 
crossed the passes of the Apennines, ravaged the fertile 
plains of Umbria, and reached without obstruction the city 
which for six hundred years had not been violated by the 
presence of a foreign enemy. But Rome was not what 
she was when Hannibal led his Africans to her gates. She 
was surrounded with more extensive fortifications, indeed, 
and contained within her w^alls, which w^ere twenty-one 



470 The Fall of the Umpire, [Chap. xi. 

miles in circuit, a large population. But where were her 
one hundred and fifty thousand warriors ? Where were 
even the three armies drawn out in battle array, that had 
Rome with- Confronted the Carthamnian leader ? She could 

out defend- ^ - i i i • t i 

ers. boast or senators who traced then' Imeage to the 

Scipios and the Gracchi ; she could enumerate one thou- 
sand seven hundred and eighty palaces, the residence of 
wealthy and proud families, many of which were equal to 
a town, including within their precincts, markets, hippo- 
dromes, temples, fountains, baths, porticoes, groves, and 
aviaries ; she could tell of senatorial incomes of four thou- 
sand pounds of gold, about eight hundred thousand dollars 
yearly, without computing the corn, oil, and wine, which 
were equal to three hundred thousand dollars more — 
men so rich that they could afford to spend five hundred 
thousand dollars in a popular festival, and this at a time 
when sold was worth at least eio;ht times more than its 
present value ; she could point with pride to her Christian 
saints, one of whom, the illustrious Paula, the friend of 
St. Jerome, was the sole proprietor of the city of Nicopolis, 
which Augustus had founded to commemorate his victory 
over Antony ; she could count two millions of inhabitants, 
crowded in narrow streets, and four hundred thousand 
pleasure-seekers who sought daily the circus or the theatre, 
and three thousand public female dancers, and three thou- 
sand singers who sought to beguile the hours of the lazy 
rabble who were fed at the public expense, and who, for 
a small copper coin, could wash tlieir dirty bodies in the 
marble baths of Diocletian and Caracalla ; but where were 
her defenders — where were her legions ? 

The day of retribution had come, and there was no es- 
Aiaricbe- capc. AlaHc made no efforts to storm the city, 
sieges Rome. |^^^ quietly sat down, and inclosed the wretched 
citizens with a cordon through which nothino: could force 
its way. He cut off all communications with the country, 
intercepted the navigation of the Tiber, and commanded 



Chap. XI.] Siege of Rome. 471 

the twelve gates. The city, unprovided for a siege, and 
never dreaming of such a calamity, soon felt all the evils 
of famine, to which those of pestilence were added. The 
most repugnant food was eagerly devoured, and even 
mothers are said to have tasted the flesh of their murdered 
children. Thousands perished daily in the houses, and the 
public sepulchres infected the air. Despair at last seized 
the haughty citizens, and they begged the clemency of the 
Gothic king. He derided the ambassadors who were sent 
to treat, and insulted them with rude jests. At Disgraceful 
last he condescended to spare the lives of the peo- peace. 
pie, on condition that they gave up all their gold and silver, 
all their precious movables, and all their slaves of barbaric 
birth. More moderate terms were afterward granted ; 
but the victor did not retreat until he had loaded his wag- 
ons with more wealth and more liberated captives than the 
Romans had brought from both Carthage and Antioch. 
He retired to the fertile fields of Tuscany to make nego- 
tiations with Honorius ; and it was only on condition that 
he were appointed master-general of the armies of the 
emperor, with an annual subsidy of corn and money, and 
the free possession of the provinces of Dalmatia, Noricum, 
and Venetia, for the seat of his kingdom, that he would 
grant peace to the emperor, who had entrenched himself 
at Ravenna. These terms were disregarded, and once 
more Alaric turned his face to Rome. He took possession 
of Ostia, one of the most stupendous works of Roman 
magnificence, and the port of Rome secured, the city was 
once again at his mercy. Again the Senate, fearful of 
famine and impelled by the populace, consented to the de- 
mands of the conqueror. He nominated Atticus, prefect 
of the city, emperor instead of the son of Theodosius, and 
received from him the commission of master-general of the 
armies of the West. 

The new emperor had a few days of prosperity, and 
the greater part of Italy submitted to his rule, backed by 



472 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap, xl 

the Gothic forces. But he was after all a mere puppet in 
the hands of Alaric, who used him as a tool, and threw 
him aside when it suited his purposes. Atticus, after a 
brief reign, was degraded, and renewed negotiations took 
place between Alaric and Honorius. The emperor, having 
had a temporary relief, broke finally with the barbarians, 
who held Italy at their mercy, and Alaric, vindictive and 
Alaric takes indignant, once again set out for Rome, now re- 
^°"^®' solved on plunder and revenge. In vain did 

the nobles organize a defense. Cowardice and treachery 
opened the Salarian gate. No Horatius kept the bridge. 
No Scipio arose in the last extremity. In the dead of 
night the Gothic trumpet rang unanswered in the streets. 
The Queen of the World, the Eternal City, was the prey 
of savage soldiers. For five days and nights she was ex- 
posed to every barbarity and license. Only the treasures 
collected in the churches of St. Peter and St. Paul were 
saved. Although the captor had promised to spare the 
lives of the people, a cruel slaughter was made, and the 
streets were filled with the dead. Forty thousand slaves 
were let loose by the bloody conquerors to gratify their 
long-stifled passions of lust and revenge. The matrons 
and virgins of Rome were exposed to every indignity, and 
The miseries Suffered cvcry insult. The city was abandoned 

of the 111 • 1 f* 

Romans. to pillage, ancl the palaces were stripped even or 
their costly furniture. Sideboards of massive silver, and 
variegated wardrobes of silk and purple, were piled upon 
the wagons. The works of art were destroyed or injured. 
Beautiful vases were melted down for the plate. The 
daughters and wives of senatorial families became slaves — 
such as were unable to purchase their ransom. Italian 
fugitives thronged the shores of Africa and Syria, begging 
daily bread. They were scattered over various provinces, 
as far as Constantinople and Jerusalem. The whole em- 
pire was filled with consternation. The news made the 
tongue of old St. Jerome to cleave to the roof of his mouth 



Chap. XI.] Ruin of Italy. , 473 

in his cell at Bethlehem, which even was besieged with beg- 
gars. " For twenty years," cried he, " Roman blood has 
been flowing from Constantinople to the Julian Alps. 
Scythia, Thrace, Macedonia, Dacia, Epirus, Dalmatia, 
Achaia, the two Pannonias," yea, he might have added, 
Gaul, Britain, Spain, and Italy, " all belong to the barba- 
rians. Sorrow, misery, desolation, despair, death, are 
everywhere. What is to be seen but one universal ship- 
wreck of humanity, from which there is no escape save on 
the plank of penitence." The same bitter despair came 
from St. Augustine. The end of the world was supposed 
to be at hand, and the great churchmen of the age found 
consolation only in the doctrine that the second coming of 
our Lord was at hand to establish a new dispensation of 
peace and righteousness on the earth, or to appear as a 
stern and final judge amid the clouds of heaven. 

After six days the Goths evacuated the city they had 
despoiled, and advanced along the Appian way TheGothsin 
into the southern provinces of Italy, destroying ^^^^^' 
ruthlessly all who opposed their march, and loading them- 
selves with still greater spoils. The corn, wine, and oil 
of the country were consumed within the barbarian camp, 
and the beautiful villas of the coast of Campania were de- 
stroyed or plundered. The rude inhabitants of Scythia and 
Germany stretched their limbs under the shade of the 
Italian palm-trees, and compelled the beautiful daughters 
of the proud senators of the fallen capital to attend on 
them like slaves, while they quaffed the old Falernian 
wines from goblets of gold and gems. Nothing arrested 
the career of the Goths. Their victorious leader now med- 
itated the invasion of Africa, but died suddenly after a 
short illness, and the world was relieved, for a while, of 
a mighty fear. 

His successor Adolphtis suspended the operations of war, 
and negotiated with the emperor a treaty of Ravages in 
peace, and even enlisted under his standard to 



other prov- 
inces. 



474 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

chastise his enemies in Gaul. But the oppressed provin- 
cials were cruelly ravaged bj their pretended friends, who 
occupied the cities of Narbonne, Toulouse, and Bordeaux, 
and spread from the Mediterranean to the Ocean. Adol- 
phus espoused Placidia, a sister of Honorius, to the in- 
tense humiliation of the ministers of Honorius. But the 
marriage proved fortunate for the empire, and the Goths 
settled down in the fertile provinces they had conquered, 
and established a Gothic kingdom. Among the treasures 
which the Goths carried to Narbonne, was a famous dish 
of solid gold, weighing five hundred pounds, ornamented 
with precious stones, and exquisitely engraved with the 
figures of men and animals. But this precious specimen 
of Roman luxury was not to be compared with the table 
formed from a single emerald, encircled with three rows 
of pearls, supported by three hundred and sixty-five feet 
of gems and massive gold, which was found in the Gothic 
treasury when plundered by the Arabs, and which also 
had been one of the ornaments of a senatorial palace.^ 
The favor of the Franks was, in after times, purchased 
with this golden dish by a Spanish monarch, who stole it 
back, but compensated by a present of tw^o hundred thou- 
sand pieces of gold, with which Dagobert founded the 
Abbey of St. Denys.^ 

The sack of Rome by the Goths was followed by the 
New bar- succcssful iuroads of otlicr barbaric tribes. The 
Bions. Suevi, the Alans, and the Vandals invaded Spain, 

which for four hundred years had been prosperous in all 
the arts of peace. The great cities of Corduba, Merida, 
Seville, Bracara, and Barcelona, testified to her wealth and 
luxury, wdiile science and commerce both elevated and 
enfeebled the people. Yet no one of the Roman provinces 
suffered more severely. Gibbon thus quotes the language 

1 This emerald table was probably colored glass. It was valued at five hun- 
ired thousand pieces of gold. 

2 Gibbou, chap. xxx. 



Chap. XL] The Vandals, 475 

of a Spanish historian. " The barbarians exercised an in- 
discriminate cruelty on the fortunes of both Spaniards and 
Romans, and ravaged with equal fury the cities and the 
open country. Famine reduced the miserable inhabitants 
to feed on the flesh of their fellow-creatures, and pestilence 
swept away a large portion of those whom famine spared. 
Then the barbarians fixed their permanent seats permanent 
in the country they had ravaged with fire and theoS^rn 
sword ; Galicia was divided between the Suevi ^p^^°' 
and the Vandals ; the Alani were scattered over the prov- 
inces of Carthagenia and Lusitania, and Boetica was al- 
lotted to the Vandals.'' But he adds, and this is a most 
impressive fact, " that the greater part of the Sj^aniards 
preferred the condition of poverty and barbarism to the 
severe oppressions of the Roman government." ^ 

The successors of Alaric, a. d. 419, established them- 
selves at Toulouse, forty-three years after they had crossed 
the Danube, which became the seat of the Gothic empire 
in Gaul. About the same time the Burgundians and the 
Franks obtained a permanent settlement in that distracted 
but wealthy province, and effected a ruin of all that had 
been deemed opulent or fortunate. 

Meanwhile, Britain had been left, by the withdrawal of 
the legions, to the ravages of Saxon pirates, and The Romans 
the savages of Caledonia. The island was irrev- ain. 
ocably lost to the empire, a. d. 409, although it was forty 
years before the Saxons obtained a permanent footing, and 
secured their conquest. 

But a more savao;e chastisement than Rome received 
from the Goths — the most powerful and generous of her 
foes — was inflicted by the Vandals, whose name is synony- 
mous with all that is fierce and revoltino;. 

These barbarians belonged to the great Teutonic race, 
although some maintain that they were of Sla- 

TheYandals. 

vonic origin. Their settlements were between 

1 Gibbon, chap. xxx. 



476 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xi. 

the Elbe and the Vistula ; and, during the reign of Mar- 
cus Aurelius, they had, with other tribes, inA^aded the 
Roman world, but were defeated by the Roman emperor. 
One hundred years later they settled in Pannonia, where 
they had a bitter contest with the Goths. Defeated by 
them, they sought the protection of Rome, and enlisted in 
the imperial armies. In 406, they crossed the Rhine and 
invaded Gaul, and it was not in the power of the Franks 
to resist them. They advanced to the very foot of the 
Pyrenees, inflicting every atrocity upon the Celtic and Ro- 
man inhabitants. Neither age, nor sex, nor condition was 
spared, and the very churches were given to the flames. 
They then crossed into Spain, a. d. 409, and settled in 
Andalusia, and under its sunny skies resumed the agri- 
cultural life they had led in Pannonia,^ The land now 
wore an aspect of prosperity ; rich harvests covered the 
plains, while the hills were white with flocks. They seem 
to have lived in amity with the Romans, so that " there 
were found those who preferred freedom with poverty 
among the barbarians, to a life rendered wretched by taxa- 
tion among their own countrymen." ^ This testimony is 
confirmed by Salvian, who declares, " they prefer to live 
as freemen under the guise of captivity, rather than as 
captives under the guise of freedom." ^ If this be true, 
it would seem that the rule of the barbarians was preferred 
to tlie taxation and oppression with which they were 
ground down by the Roman officials. And this conclusion 
is legitimate, w^hen we remember the indifference and 
apathy that seized the old inhabitants wdien the empire was 
seriously threatened. It may have been that the irrup- 
tions of the barbarians were not reo;arded as so m-eat a 
calamity after all, if they should break the bondage and 
alleviate the misery which filled the Roman world. 

The Roman government, it would seem,^ would not tol- 

1 Sheppard's Fall of Rome, p. 364. ^ Orosius, vii. 41. 

8 De Gub. Dei, v. ^ Sheppard, p. 364. 



CiiAP. XL] Genseric invades Africa. 477 

erate the Vandals in Spain, and intrigued with the Goths, 
their hereditary enemies, to make an attack upon successes of 
them, perhaps with the view of weakening the *^^ ^'andais. 
strength of the Goths themselves, a. d. 416. Wallia, 
king of the Goths, w^as successful, and the Vandals were 
worried. The Romans also sent an army to reconquer 
Spain from their grasp, wliich drove the Vandals into 
Andalusia. But the Vandals turned upon their enemies 
and entirely discomfited them, and twenty thousand men 
were left dead upon the field. Spain was now entirely at 
the mercy of these infuriated barbarians, who might have 
peacefully settled had it not been for the jealousy of the 
imperial government, which, in those days, drew upon it- 
self evils by its own mismanagement. For two years 
" Vandalism " reigned throughout the peninsula, which 
was pillaged and sacked. 

The king of these Vandals was Genseric, the worthy 
rival of Alaric and Attila, as a " scourge of God." 
If we may credit the writers who belonged to 
the people wdiom he humbled,^ he was one of the mos 
hideous monsters ever clothed with power. He was arr^ 
bitious, subtle, deceitful, revengeful, cruel, and pass^, 
ate. But he was temperate, of clear vision, and inflexi 
purpose. ^^ 

He cast his eyes on Africa, the granary of Rome, ians 
the only province which had thus far escaped the The vandais 
ravages of war. In the hour of triumph, and in AMca. 
the plenitude of power, he resolved on leaving Spain, which 
he held by uncertain tenure, since he was only an illegiti- 
mate son of the late monarch Gunderic, and foundino; a 
new kingdom in Africa. It was rich in farms and cities, 
whose capital, Carthage, had arisen from her ashes, and 
was once again the rival of Rome in majesty and splendor. 
She had even outgrown Alexandria, and her commerce 
was more flourishing than that of the capital of Egypt. 

1 Procopius, Bell. Vand., i. 3. 



478 



The Fall of the Empire, 



[Chap. XI. 



She was even famous for schools and chairs of philosophy ; 
but more for those arts which material prosperity ever pro- 
duces. 

There were, at that time, two distinguished generals in 
Dissensions the scrvice of the empire — Boniface and ^tius, 
generals. thc fomicr of whom was governor of Africa. 
They were, unfortunately, rivals, and their dissensions and 
jealousies compromised the empire. United, they could 
have withstood, perhaps, the torrent which was about to 
sweep over Africa and Italy. --Etius persuaded the emperor 
to recall Boniface, while he advised the Count to disobey 
the summons, representing it as a sentence of death. Bon- 
iface put himself in the attitude of a rebel, and fearing 
the imperial forces, invited Genseric and his Vandals to 

frica, with the proposal of an alliance and an advantage- 
^ s settlement. Doubtless he was driven to this grand 
^blly by the intrigues of ^tius. 
\ Genseric gladly availed himself of an invitation which 

eld out to him the richest prize in the empire. With 

'ty thousand warriors he landed on the coast of Africa, 
^ ^med an alliance with the Moors, and became as danger- 

Ou. 






'an ally to Count Boniface, as Lord CUve was to the 
ye princes of India. Africa was then disturbed by the 
.. ^^1 of the Donatists, and these fanatical people were 
it w^n under the protection of the Vandals. The Moors 
""always hated their Roman masters. With Vandals, Moors, 
. and Donatists, leagued together, Africa was in serious dan- 
ger. 

The landing of the Vandals, who, of all barbarians, bore 
The Vandals the most terrible name, was the signal of head- 
Africa, long flight. Consternation seized all classes of 
' people. The gorges and the caverns of Mount Atlas were 
• crowded with fugitives. The Vandals burned the villa<]:es 
through which they marched, and sacked the cities, and 
destroyed the harvests, and cut down the trees. The 
Moors swelled the ranks of the invaders, and indulged 



Chap. XI.] Fall of Carthage. 479 

their common hatred of civilization and of Rome. Boni- 
face, too late, perceived his mistake, and turned against 
the common foe ; but was defeated in battle, and forced to 
cede away three important provinces as the price of peace, 
A. D. 432. But peace was not of long duration. The 
Vandals continually encroached upon more valuable terri- 
tory. Moreover, they had been nominally converted to 
Christianity, and were bitter zealots of the Arian faith, and 
most relentlessly persecuted the Catholic Christians who 
adhered to the Nicene Creed. 

At last (439 a. d.), the storm burst out, and the world 
was thunderstruck with the intelligence that Gensericat 
Genseric had seized and plundered Carthage, c*"^*^*?®- 
Suddenly, without warning, in a day looked not for, this 
magnificent city was plundered, and her inhabitants butch- 
ered by the most faithless and perfidious barbarians, who 
trampled out the dying glories of the empire. Her doom 
was like that pronounced upon Tyre and Sidon. The bit- 
ter cry which went up from the devastated city proclaimed 
the retribution of God for sins more hideous than ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ 
those of Antioch or Babylon. Of all the cities ^'^^^ 
of the world, Carthage was probably the wickedest — a 
seething caldron of impurities and abominations, the home 
of all the vices which disgraced humanity — so indecent 
and scandalous as to excite the disgust of the barbarians 
themselves. According to one of the authors of those 
times, as quoted by Sheppard,^ " they were notorious for 
drunkenness, avarice, and perjury — the peculiar sins of 
degenerate commercial capitals. The Goths are perfidi- 
ous but chaste, the Franks are liars but hospitable, the 
Saxons are cruel but continent ; but the Africans are a 
blazing fire of impurity and lust ; the rich are drunk with 
debauchery, the poor are ground down with relentless op- 
pression, while other vices, too indecent to be named, pol- 
lute every class. Who can wonder at the fall of Roman 

1 Salvian, De Gub. Dei, vii. 251. 



480 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

society ? What hope can there be for Rome, when bar- 
barians are more chaste and temperate than they ? " 

In the sack of Carthao;e, the voluminous writings of 
Augustine, then breathing his last in prayer to God that 
tlie fate of Sodom might be averted, were fortunately pre- 
served, and have doubtless done more to instruct, and per- 
haps civilize, the western nations, than all the arts and 
sciences of the commercial metropolis. It is singular how 
little remains of the commercial cities of antiquity, which 
we value as trophies of civilization. A few sculptured 
ruins are all that attest ancient pride and glory. The 
poems of a blind schoolmaster at Chios, and the rhapsodies 
of a wandering philosopher on the hills of Greece, have 
proved greater legacies to the world than the combined 
treasures of Africa and Asia Minor. Where is the liter- 
ature of Carthage, except as preserved in the writings of 
Augustine, the influence of which in developing the char- 
acter of the barbarians cannot be estimated. 

The cry of agony which went from Carthage across the 
Renewed Mediterranean, announced to Rome that her 
Rom^^^ turn would come. She looked in vain to every 
quarter for assistance. Every city and province had need 
of their own forces. Theodoric, king of the Visigoths, was 
contending with JEtius ; in Spain the Sueves were extend- 
ing their ravages ; Attila menaced the eastern provinces ; 
the Emperor Valentinian was forced to hide in the marshes 
of Ravenna, and see the second sack of the imperial capi- 
tal, now a prostrate power — a corpse in a winding-sheet. 

The Vandals landed on the Italian coast. They ad- 
The Vandals vauccd to tlio Tiber's banks. The Queen of 
in Italy. Cities Wrapped around her the foded folds of her 
imperial purple, rent by faction, pierced with barbaric 
daggers, and trampled in the dust. Yet not with the 
dignity of her great Julius did she die. She begged for 
mercy, not proud and stately amid her executioners, but' 
like a withered hag, with the wine-cup of sorceries in her 
hand, pale, haggard, ghastly, staggering, helpless. 



Chap. XI.] Ruin and Desolation of Rome, 481 

The last hope of Rome was her Christian bishop, and 
the great Leo, who was to Rome what Augustine sack and 
had been to Carthage, in his pontifical robes, Rome, 
hastened to the barbarians' camp. But all he could secure 
was the promise that the unresisting should be spared, the 
buildings protected from fire, and the captives from tor- 
ture. Even this promise was only partially fulfilled. The 
pillage lasted fourteen days and fourteen nights, and all 
that the Goths had spared was transported to the ships 
of Genseric. Among the spoils were the statues of the old 
pagan gods which adorned the capitol, the holy vessels of 
the Jewish temples which Titus had brought away from 
Jerusalem, and the shrines and altars of the Christian 
churches enriched by the liberality of popes and emperors. 
The gilding of the capitol had cost Domitian twelve mill- 
ion dollars, or twelve thousand talents, but the bronze on 
which it was gilt was carried away. The imperial orna- 
ments of the palace, the magnificent furniture and ward- 
robe of senatorial mansions, and the sideboards of massive 
plate, gold, silver, brass, copper, whatever could be found, 
were transported to the ships. The Empress Eudoxia her- 
self was stripped of her jewels, and carried away captive 
with her two daughters, the only survivors of the great 
Theodosius. Thousands of Romans were forced upon the 
fleet, while wives were separated from their husbands, and 
children from their parents, and sold into slavery.^ 

Such was the doom of Rome, A. d. 455, forty-five years 
after the Gothic invasion. The haughty city had The doom of 
met the fate she had inflicted upon her rivals. ^^™^- 
And she never would probably have arisen from her fall, 
but would have remained ruined and desolate, had not her 
great bishop, rising with the greatness of the crisis, and in- 
spired with the old imperishable idea of national unity, 
which had for three hundred years sustained the crum- 
bling empire, exclaimed to the rude spoliators, now con- 

1 Gibbon, ehap. xxxvi. 
31 



482 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

verted to his faith, while all around him were desolation 
and ruin, weeping widows, ashes, groans, lamentations, 
bitter sorrows — nothing left but recollections, nothing to 
be seen but the desolation spoken of by Jeremy the 
prophet, as well as the Cumean Sybil ; all central power 
subverted, law and justice by-words, literature and art 
crushed, vice rampant multiplying itself, the contemplative 
hiding in cells, the rich made slaves, women shrieking in 
terror, bishops praying in despair, the heart of the world 
bleeding, barbarians everywhere triumphant — in this 
mournful crisis, did Leo, the intrepid Pontiff, alone and 
undismayed, and concentrating within himself all that sur- 
vived of the ambition and haughty will of the ancient cap- 
ital, exclaim to the superstitious victors, in the spirit if not 
in the words of Hildebrand, '* Beware, I am the successor 
The heroism ^^ ^^* P^ter, to whom God has given the keys of 
of the Pope, ^j.^^ kiuiidom of heaven, and a^-ainst wliose church 
the gates of hell cannot prevail ; I am the living repre- 
sentative of divine power upon the earth ; I am Csesar, a 
Christian Cassar, ruling in love, to whom all Christians owe 
allegiance ; I hold in my hands the curses of hell, and the 
benedictions of heaven ; I absolve all subjects from alle- 
giance to kings ; I give and take away, by divine riglit, all 
thrones and principalities of Christendom — beware how 
you desecrate the patrimony given me by your invisible 
king, yea, bow down your necks to me, and pray that the 
anger of God may be averted." And the superstitious 
conquerors wept, and bowed their faces to the dust, in 
reverence and in awe, and Rome again arose from her des- 
olation — the seat of a new despotism more terrible than] 
the centralized power of the emperors, controlling the 
wills of kings, priests, and people, and growing more ma- 
jestic with the progress of ages ; a vital and mysterious 
power which even the Reformation could not break, and 
which even now gives no signs of decay, and boldly defies, 
in the plenitude of spiritual power, a greater prince than 



Chap. XI.] Invasion of the Huns, 483 

he who stood in the winter time three days and nights be- 
fore the gates of the castle of Canossa, bareheaded and 
barefooted, in abject submission to Gregory VII. 

While the Vandals were thus plundering Rome, a still 
fiercer race of barbarians were trampling beneath Renewed in- 

•t ' n -, -i 1 'PI • Tasion of 

then' leet the deserted sanctuaries ot the empire, barbarians. 
The Huns, a Slavonic race, most hideous and revolting sav- 
ages, Tartar hordes, with swarthy faces, sunken 

n 1 T 1 • 1 1 1 The Huns. 

eyes, flat noses, square bodies, big heads, broad 
shoulders, low stature, w^ithout pity, or fear, or mercy — 
equally the enemies of the Romans and the Germans — 
races thus far incapable of civilization, now spread them- 
selves from the Volga to the Danube, from the shores of the 
Caspian to the Hadriatic. They were a nomadic people, 
with flocks and herds, planting no seed, reaping no har- 
vest, wandering about in quest of a living, yet powerful 
with their horses and darts. For fifty years after they had 
invaded Southern Europe, their aid was sought and secured 
by the rash court of Constantinople, as a counterpoise to 
the power of the Goths and other Germanic tribes. They 
were obstinate pagans, and had an invincible hatred of 
civilization. They had various fortunes in their migrations 
and wars, and experienced some terrible defeats. But they 
had their eyes open to the spoil of the crumbling empire — 
" ripe fruit " for them to pluck, as well as for the Goths 
and Vandals. 

The leader of the Huns at this period was Attila — a 
man of great astuteness and military genius, who 
succeeded in conquering, one after another, every 
existing tribe of barb^arians beyond the Danube and the 
Rhine, and then turned his arms against the eastern empire. 
This was in the year 441. They ravaged Pannonia, routed 
two Roman armies, laid Thessaly in waste, and threatened 
Constantinople. The Emperor Theodosius, a. d. 446, pur- 
chased peace by an ignominious tribute, so great as to re- 
duce many leading families to poverty. " The scourge of 



484 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

God " then turned his steps to the more exhausted fields 
of the western provinces, and invaded Gaul. The Visi- 
goths had there established a kingdom, hostile to the Van- 
dal power. The Huns and the Vandals united, with all 
the savage legions which could be collected from Lapland 
to the Indus, against the Goths and imperial forces under 
the command of ^tius. " Never," says Thierry,^ " since 
the days of Xerxes, was there such a gathering of nations 
as now followed the standard of Attila, some five hundred 
thousand warriors — Huns, Alans, Gepidse, Neuvi, Geloni, 
The hosts of Bastam^e, Heruli, Lombards, Belloniti, Rugl, 
rians. some German but chiefly Asiatic tribes, with their 

long quivers and ponderous lances, and cuirasses of plaited 
hair, and scythes, and round bucklers, and short swords." 
This heterogeneous host, from the Sarmatian plains, and 
the banks of the Vistula and Niemen, extended from Basle 
to the mouth of the Rhine. Attila directed it ao;ainst Or- 
leans, on the Loire, an important strategic position. jEtlus 
went to meet him, brincrlno: all the barbaric auxiliaries he 
could collect — Britons, Franks, Burgundlans, Sueves, 
Saxons, Visigoths. It was not so much Roman against 
barbarian, as Europe against Asia, which was now arra3^ed 
upon the plains of Champagne, for Orleans had fallen into 
Battle of ^^^ hands of the Huns. There, at Chalons, was 
Chalons. fought the most decisive and bloody battle of that 
dreadful age, by which Europe was delivered from Asia, 
even as at a later day the Saracens were shut out of 
France by Charles Martel. " Bellum atrox^ multiplex^ im- 
mane^ pertinax, cui simile nulla iisquam narrat antiquitas.^^^ 
Attila began the fight ; on his left were the Ostrogoths 
under Vladimir, on his right were the Gepldas, while in the 
centre were stationed the Huns, with their irresistible cav- 
alry, .^tius stationed the Franks and Burgundlans, whose 
loyalty he doubted, in the centre, while he strengthened 
his wings, and assumed the command of his own left. 

1 Histoire (TAttilla, vol. i. p. 141. 2 Jornandes. 



Chap. XL] Retreat of Attila, 485 

The Huns, as expected, made their impetuous charge ; the 
Roman army was cut in two; but the wings of JEtius 
overlapped the cavahy of Attila, and drove back Defeat of the 
his wings. Attila was beaten, and Gaul was saved ^"^^' 
from the Slavonic invaders. It is computed that three hun- 
dred thousand barbarians, on both sides, were slain — the 
most fearful slaughter recorded in the whole annals of war. 
The discomfited king of the Huns led back his forces to 
the Rhine, ravaging the cities and villages through which 
he passed, and collected a new army. The following year 
he invaded Italy. 

^tius alone remained to stem the barbaric hosts. He 
had won one of the greatest victories of ancient The Roman 
times, and sought for a reward. And consider- ^tius. 
ing the brilliancy of his victory, and the greatness of his 
services, the marriage of his son with the princess Eudoxia 
was not an unreasonable object of ambition. But his great- 
ness made him unpopular with the debauched court at 
Ravenna, and he was left without a sufficient force to stem 
the invasion of the Huns. Aquileia, the most important 
and strongly fortified city of Northern Italy, for a time 
stood out against the attack of the barbarians, but ulti- 
mately yielded. Fugitives from the Venetian territory 
sought a refuge among the islands which skirt the northern 
coast of the Adriatic — the haunts of fishermen and sea- 
birds. There Venice was born, which should revive the 
glory of the West, and write her history upon the waves 
for a thousand years. Attila had spent the spring in 
his attack on Aquileia, and the summer heats were un- 
favorable for further operations, and his soldiers damored 
for repose ; but, undaunted by the ravages which sickness 
produced in his army, he resolved to cross the Apennines 
and give a last blow to Rome. Leo again sought the bar- 
barians' camp, and met with more success than he did w^ith 
the Vandals. Attila consented to leave Italy in Retreat of 
consideration of an annual tribute, and the prom- ■^"^' 



486 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xi. 

ise of the hand of the princess Honoria, sister of the Em- 
peror Valentinian, who, years before, in a fit of female 
spitefalness for having been banished to Constantinople, 
had sent her ring as a gage d'amour to the repulsive bar- 
barian. He then retired to the Danube by the passes of 
the Alps, where he spent the winter in bacchanalian orgies 
and preparations for an invasion of the eastern provinces. 
But his career was suddenly cut off by the avenging pon- 
iard of Ildigo, a Bactrian or Burgundian princess, whom 
he had taken for one of his numerous wiv^es, and whose 
relations he had slain. 

On his death, the German tribes refused longer to serve 
Disasters of uudcr the divided rule of his sons, and after a 
the Huns. severe contest with the more barbarous Huns, 
the empire of Attila disappeared as one of the great powers 
of the world, and Italy was delivered forever from this 
plague of locusts. The battle of Netad, in which they 
suffered a disastrous defeat, was perhaps as decisive as the 
battle of Chalons. They returned to Asia, or else were 
gradualty worn out in unavailing struggles with the Goths. 

The Avars, a tribe of the great Turanian race, and kin- 
dred to the Huns, a few years after their retreat, 
crossed the Danube, established themselves be- 
tween that river and the Save, invaded the Greek em- 
2:)ire, and ravaged the provinces almost to the walls of Con- 
stantinople. It would seem from Sheppard that the Avars 
had migrated from the very centre of Asia, two thousand 
miles from the Caspian Sea, fleeing from the Turks who 
had reduced them to their sway.^ In their migration to the 
West, they overturned every thing in their way, and spread 
great alarm at Constantinople. Justinian, then an old 
man, a. d. 567, purchased their peace by an annual trib- 
ute and the grant of lands. In 582, the Avar empire was 
firmly established on the Danube, and in the valleys of the 
Balkan. But it was more hostile to the Slavic tribes, than 

1 Sheppard, Lect. iv. 



Chap. XL] La§t Bays of the Empire, 487 

to the Byzantine Greeks, wlio then occupied the centre 
and southeast of Europe, and who were reduced to mis- 
erable slavery. With the Franks, the Avars also came 
in conflict, and, after various fortunes, were subdued by 
Charlemagne. Their subsequent history cannot here be 
pursued, until they were swept away from the roll of 
the European nations. Moreover, it was not until after 
the fall of Rome, that they were formidable. 

The real drama of the fall of Rome closes with the 
second sack of the city by the Vandals, since Final disas- 

ters of the 

the imperial power was nearly prostrated in the empire. 
West, and shut up within the walls of Ravenna. But Italy 
was the scene of great disasters for twenty years after, until 
the last of the emperors — Augustulus Romulus ; what a 
name with which to close the series of Roman emperors ! — 
was dethroned by Odoacer, chief of the Heruli, a Scythian 
tribe, and Rome was again stormed and sacked, a. d. 476. 
During these twenty years, the East and the West were 
finally severed, and Italy was ruled by barbaric chieftains, 
and their domination permanently secured. Valentinian, 
the last emperor of the race of Theodosius, was assassin- 
ated in the year 455 (at the instigation of the Senator 
Maximus, of the celebrated Anician family, whose wife he 
had violated), a man who had inherited all the weaknesses 
of his imperial house, without its virtues, and under whose 
detestable reign the people were so oppressed with taxes 
and bound down by inquisitions that they preferred the 
barbarians to the empire. The successive reigns of Max- 
imus, Avitus, Majorian, Severus, Anthemius, imbecile 
Olybrius, Glycerins, Nepos, and Augustulus, «™p*^^«^^- 
nine emperors in twenty-one years, suggests nothing but 
disorder and revolution. The murderer of Valentinian 
reigned but three months, during which Rome was sacked 
by the Vandals. Avitus was raised to his vacant throne 
by the support of the Visigoths of Gaul, then ruled by 
Theodoric, a majestic barbarian, and the most enlightened 



488 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. xi. 

and civilized of all the leaders of the Gothic hosts who had 
yet appeared. He fought and vanquished the Suevi, who 
had established themselves in Spain, in the name of the em- 
peror whom he had placed upon the throne, but he really 
ruled on both sides of the Alps, and Avitus was merely 
his puppet, and distinguished only for his infamous pleas- 
ures, although, as a general, he had once saved the empire 
from the Huns. 

He was in turn deposed by Count Ricimer, a Sueve, 
Last days of ^^^^ gcneralissimo of the Roman armies, and Ma- 
^*'™®" jorian, whom Ricimer thought to make a tool, 

was placed in his stead. But he was an able and good 
man, and attempted to revive the traditions of the empire, 
and met the fate of all reformers in a hopeless age, doubt- 
less under the influence of Ricimer, who substituted Sev- 
erus, a Lucanian, who perished by poison after a reign of 
four years, so soon as he became distasteful to the military 
subordinate, who was all - powerful at Rome, and who 
ruled Italy for six years without an emperor with despotic 
authority. During these six years Italy was perpetually 
ravaged by the Vandals, who landed and pillaged the 
coast, and then retired with their booty. Ricimer, without 
ships, invoked the aid of the court of Constantinople, who 
imposed a Greek u})on the throne of Italy. Though a 
man of great ability, Anthemius, the new emperor, was 
unpopular with the Italians and the barbarians, and he, 
again, was deposed by Ricimer, and Olybrius, a senator of 
the Anician house, reigned in his stead, a. d. 472. It 
was then that Rome for the third time was sacked by one 
of her own generals. Olybrius reigned but a few months, 
and Glycerins, captain of his guard, was selected as his 
successor — an aj)pointment disagreeable to the Greek Em- 
peror Leo, who opposed to him Julius Nepos — a distin- 
guished general, who succeeded in ejecting Glycerins. 
The Visigoths, offended, made war upon Roman Gaul. 
Julius sent airainst them Orestes, a Pannonian, called tho 



Chap. XL] Final Dismemberment of the Empire, 489 

Patrician, who turned a traitor, and, on the assassination 
of JuKus, entered Ravenna in triumph. His son, chris- 
tened Romulus, the soldiers elevated upon a shield and 
saluted Augustus ; but as he was too small to wear the 
purple robe, they called him Augustulus — a bitter mock- 
ery, recalhng the battle of Actium, and the foundation of 
Rome. He was the last of the Cassars. It was easier to 
make an emperor than keep him in his place. The bands 
of Orestes clamored for lands equal to a third of Italy. 
Orestes hesitated, and refused the demand. The soldiers 
were united under Odoacer — chief of the Heruh, a gen- 
eral in the service of the Patrician — one of the boldest 
and most unscrupulous of those mercenaries who lent their 
arms in the service of the government of Ravenna. The 
standard of revolt was raised, and the barbarian army 
marched against their former master. Leaving his son in 
Ravenna, Orestes, himself an able general trained in the 
service of Attila, went forth to meet his enemy on the Lom- 
bard plains. Unable to make a stand, he shut himself up 
in Pavia, which was taken and sacked, and Orestes put to 
death. The barbarians then marched to Ravenna, which 
they took, with the boy who wore the purple, who was 
not slain as his father was, but pensioned with six thousand 
crowns, and sent to a Campanian villa, which once belonged 
to Sulla and Lucullus. The throne of the Caesars was hope- 
lessly subverted, and Odoacer was king of Italy, and por- 
tioned out its lands to his greedy followers, a. d. 476. He 
was not unworthy of his high position, but his kingdom 
was in a sad state of desolation, and after a reign of four- 
teen years he was in turn supplanted by the superior 
genius of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, under whom 
a new era dawned upon Italy and the West, A. D. 490. 

The Roman empire was now dismembered, and the va- 
rious tribes of barbarians, after a contest of two Dismember- 
hundred years were iiurly settled m its prov- empire, 
inces. 



490 The Fall of the Empire. [Chap. XI 

In Italy we find the Ostrogoths as a dominant power, 
The settle- who, migrating from the mouth of the Danube, 
Sogoth? ^^'^^^^ all the barbarians they could enlist under 
in Italy. ^j^^ standard of Theodoric, prevailed over Odo- 
acer, and settled in Italy. The Gothic kingdom was as- 
sailed afterward by Belisarius and Narses, the great gen- 
erals of Justinian, also by the Lombards under Alboin, 
who maintained themselves in the north of Italy. 

Gaul was divided among the Franks, the Burgundians, 
The settle- ^^^ ^^® Visigoths, whose perpetual wars, and 
Franks^in^^ whose iufaut kingdom, it is not my object to pre- 
^''^^i- sent. 

Britain was possessed by the Saxons, Spain by the Van- 
The settle- dals, Sucvi, and Visigoths, and Africa by the 
slfxon?in^^ Vaudals, while the whole eastern empire fell into 
Britam. ^|^g hauds of the Saracens, except Constantinople, 
which preserved the treasures of Greek and Roman civili- 
zation, until the barbarians, elevated by the Christian relig- 
ion, were prepared to ingraft it upon their own rude laws 
and customs. 

It would be interesting to trace the various fortunes of 
these Teutonic tribes in the devastated provinces which 
they possessed by conquest. But this would lead us into a 
boundless field, foreign to our inquiry. It is the fall of 
Rome, not the reconstruction by the new races, which I 
seek to present. It would also be interesting to survey 
the old capital of the world in the hands of her various 
masters, pillaged and sacked by all in turn ; but her doom 
was sealed when Alaric entered the o-ates which had been 
closed for six hundred years to a foreign enemy, and the 
empire fell, virtually, when the haughty city, so long a 
queen among the nations, yielded up her palaces as spoil. 
The eastern empire had a longer life, but it was inglorious 
when Rome was no longer the superior city. 

The story of the fall of the grandest empire ever erected 
on our earth is simple and impressive. Genius, energy, 



Chap. XI.] Reflections on the Fall of the Ernpire. 491 

and patience led to vast possessions, which were retained 
by a uniform policy which nothino; could turn Reflections 

• i -r. -1 111 11 on the fall of 

aside. Prosperity and success led to boundless the empire, 
self-exaggeration and a depreciation of enemies, while the 
vices of self-interest undermined gradually all real strength. 
Society became utterly demoralized and weakened, and 
there were no conservative forces sufficiently strong to 
hold it together. Vitality was destroyed by disproportion- 
ate fortunes, by slavery, by the extinction of the middle 
classes, by the degradation of woman, by demoralizing ex- 
citements, by factitious life, by imperial misrule, by pro- 
consular tyranny, by enervating vices, by the absence of 
elevated sentiments, l)y an all-engrossing abandonment to 
money-making and the pleasures it procured, so that no 
lofty appeal could be made to which the degenerate people 
would listen, or which they could understand. The em- 
pire was rotten to the core — was steeped in selfishness, 
sensuality, and frivolity, and the poison pervaded all classes 
and orders, and descended to the extremities of the social 
system. What could be done ? There was no help from 
man. The empire was on the verge of dissolution when 
the barbarians came. They only gave a shock and has- 
tened the fall. The empire was ripe fruit, to be plucked 
by the strongest hand. 

Three centuries earlier a brave resistance would have 
been made, and the barbarians would have been over- 
thrown and annihilated or sold as slaves. But they were 
now the stronger, even with their rude weapons, and with- 
out the arts of war which the Romans had been learning 
for a thousand years. Yet they suffered prodigious losses 
before they became ultimately victorious. But they per- 
severed, driven by necessity as well as the love of ad- 
venture and rapine. Wave after wave was rolled back by 
desperate generals ; but the tide returned, and swept all 
away. 

Fortunately, they reconstructed after they had once 



492 The Fall of the Empire, [Chap. xi. 

destroyed. They were converts of Christianity, and had 
sympathy with many elements of civihzation. " Some 
soHtary sparks fell from the beautiful world that was passed 
upon the night of their labors." These kindled a fire which 
has never been extinguished. They had, with all their 
barbarism, some great elements of character, and in all 
the solid qualities of the heart, were superior to the races 
they subdued. They brought their fresh blood into the 
body politic, and were alive to sentiments of religion, 
patriotism, and love. They were enthusiastic, hopeful, 
generous, and uncontaminated by those subtle vices which 
ever lead to ruin. They made innumerable mistakes, and 
committed inexcusable follies. But, after a long pilgrim- 
age, and severely disciplined by misfortunes, they erected 
a new fibric, established by the beautiful union of German 
strength and Roman art, on the more solid foundations of 
Christian truth. 

The authorities for this chapter are not numerous. They are the 
historians of the empire in its decline and miseries. Gibbon's history- 
is doubtless the best in English. He may be compared with Tille- 
mont's Hist, des Emperors. Sheppard has written an interesting and 
instructing book on this period, but it pertains especially to the rise of 
• the new barbaric states. Tacitus' chapter on the Manners of the Ger- 
mans should be read in connection with the wars. Gibbon quotes largely 
from Ammianus Marcellinus, who is the best Latin historian of the last 
days of Rome. Zosimus is an authority, but he is brief. Procopius 
wrote a history of the Vandal wars. Gregory of Tours describes the 
desolations in Gaul, as well as Journandes. The writings of Jerome, 
Augustine, and other fathers, allude somewhat to the miseries and 
wickedness of the times. But of all the writers on this dark and gloomy 
period, Gibbon is the most satisfactory and exhaustive ; nor is it prob- 
able he will soon be supplanted in a field so dreary and sad. 



CHAPTER XII. t 

THE REASONS WHY THE CONSERVATIVE INFLUENCES OF 
PAGAN CIVILIZATION DID NOT ARREST THE RUIN OF 
THE ROMAN WORLD. 

It is a most interesting inquiry why art, literature, 
science, philosopliy, and political organizations, and other 
trophies of the unaided reason of man, did not prevent so 
mournful an eclipse of human glory as took place upon the 
fall of the majestic empire of the Romans. There can be 
no question that civilization achieved most splendid tri- 
umphs, even under the influence of pagan institutions. 
But it was not paganism which achieved these victories ; 
it was the will and the reason of a noble race, in spite of 
its withering effects. It was the proud reason of man 
which soared to such lofty heights, and attempted to secure 
liappiness and prosperity. These great ends were measur- 
ably attained, and a self-sufficient philosopher might have 
pointed to these victories as both glorious and permanent. 
When the eyes of contemporaries rested on the beautiful 
and cultivated face of nature, on commerce and ships, on 
mihtary successes and triumphs, on the glories of heroes 
and generals, on a subdued world, on a complicated mech- 
anism of social life, on the blazing wonders of art, on the 
sculptures and pictures, the temples and monuments which 
ornamented every part of the empire, when they reflected 
on the bright theories which philosophy proposed, on the 
truths which were incorporated with the system of juris- 
pradence, on the wondrous constitution which the experi- 
ence of ages had framed, on the genius of poets and 



494 Why Paganism did not arrest the Ruin, [Chap. xii. 

historians, on the whole system of social life, adorned with 
polished manners and the graces of genial intercourse — 
when they saw that all these triumphs had been won over 
barbarism, and had been constantly progressing with suc- 
ceeding generations, it seemed that the reign of peace and 
Nothin-con- pi'osperlty would be perpetual. It is nothing to 
mere human ^^^^ polut whether the clvIlIzation of which all 
creation. people boastcd, and in which they trusted, was 
superior or inferior to that which has subsequently been 
achieved by the Gothic races. The question is, Did these 
arts and sciences produce an influence sufficiently strong 
to conserve society ? That they polished and adorned in- 
dividuals cannot be questioned. Did they infuse life into 
the decaying mass? Did they prolong political existence? 
Did tliey produce valor and moral force among the masses? 
Did they raise a bulwark capable of resisting human de- 
generacy or barbaric violence ? Did they lead to self-re- 
straint ? Did they create a lofty public sentiment which 
scorned baseness and lies ? Did they so raise the moral 
tone of society that people were induced to make sacrifices 
and noble efforts to preserve blessings which had already 
been secured. 

I have to show that the grandest empire of antiquity 
perished from the same causes which destroyed Babylon 
and Carthage ; that all the magnificent trophies of the in- 
tellect were in vain ; that the sources of moral renovation 
were poisoned ; that nothing worked out, practically and 
generally, the good which was intended, and which enthu- 
siasts had hoped ; that the very means of culture were 
perverted, and that the savor unto life became a savor 
unto death. In short, it will appear from the example of 
Rome, that man cannot save himself; that he cannot orig- 
inate anv means of conservation which will not be foiled 
and rendered nugatory by the force of human corruption ; 
tliat man, left to himself, will defeat his own purposes, and 
that all his enterprises and projects will end in shame and 



Chap. XII.] Inadequacy of the Old Civilization, 495 

humiliation, so far as they are intended to preserve society. 

The history of all the pagan races and countries civilization 

, ,, T'11'1 1 ^^^ ^^^y ^^^ 

show that only a limited height can ever betoacertaia 

111/ . . , . , 1 height by un- 

reached, and that society is destined to perpetual aided reason. 

falls as well as triumphs, and would move on in circles for- 
ever, where no higher aid comes than from man himself. 
And this great truth is so forcibly borne out by facts, that 
those profound and learned historians who are skeptical of 
the power of Christianity, have generally embraced the 
theory that nations must rise and fall to the end of time ; 
and society will show, like the changes of nature, only 
phases which have appeared before. Their gloomy